Watching the world’s greatest athletes compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil was amazing. To witness Olympic records being set; like Michael Phelp’s winning the most medals in history, the two young African-American women, both name Simone, win gold medals in gymnastics, and swimming for the first time ever, and Allyson Felix winning her sixth gold medal in track and field.
As we observe the athletes stand on the platform of victory at the award ceremonies, the gold medal being placed around their neck, the praise of fans in the stands, it doesn’t occur to us that their victory started before the “gold”.
In an interview with Simone Biles she was asked“What it takes to be great?”
“I had to give up things; homecoming, prom, dances, football games. I was always in the gym, all day long. It’s not easy, not always fun. Sacrifices for something you love. Hard work.
Simone had to give up a lot in order to win that gold medal. She gave up having a normal childhood, high school life, and time hanging with friends. Her time was spent working on things that would help her become an Olympic gold medal winning athlete.
Likewise, we too are athletes. We aren’t competing for a gold medal, but we are running this Christian race, looking forward to reaching our goal, Heaven, and receiving our eternal rewards from our Lord.
The great news is that we don’t have to wait to Heaven to be victorious, we can live in victory right now. Are you a champion in Christ?3 characteristics of a champion Click To Tweet
Here are three characteristics of a champion for Christ.
#1- Avoid temptation and conquer sin.
Living a holy, pure, righteous, God-honoring lifestyle should be the goal of all Christians. In order to achieve this, we have to guard ourselves from things (and people) that will hinder us and cause us to stumble. We can’t over-estimate our strength to withstand temptation.
“Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”Matthew 26:41
“…let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” Hebrews 12:1
“Do not enter the path of the wicked And do not proceed in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not pass by it; Turn away from it and pass on” Proverbs 4:14-15
To live a godly Christian life will require us to avoid hanging out at certain places, giving up certain entertainment, books, hobbies, etc. that may cause our minds and hearts to not be fully devoted to the Lord, and disobedient to His Word. If we are constantly finding ourselves stumbling and giving into temptation, then we must evaluate what possible stumbling blocks we may have put in our lives. Our daily choices should help us flee from and conquer sin, not push us towards it and be a slave to it.
#2- Surround yourself with victors.
There is a saying “birds of a feather flock together”. Not sure where the saying comes from, but its meaning is true, and is also biblical. Yet often times as Christians, we surround ourselves with people who are anti-God/anti-Bible (by how they act), and we expect to live a well-pleasing life for Jesus. The Word warns us over and over again that we must watch the company we keep, if we want to be victorious in our life.
“Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals” 1 Corinthians 15:33
“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!” Psalms 1:1
Somehow we’ve convinced ourselves that we can hang around ungodly people without being influenced. We come up with excuse after excuse as to why we continue to be disobedient to God in the area of friendships and relationships (family included). However, the Scripture is clear that we ought to avoid such people, and instructs us against having our close associates, intimate friendships with unbelievers and/or worldly professing Christians, who life is filled with sin and who live immoral lifestyles (1 Corinthians 5:9-11).
To be victorious we must seek counsel of wise godly people (Proverbs 13:20), who are seeking to live victoriously and who can hold us accountable (Proverbs 27:17).
#3-Build up spiritual muscles.
Simone Biles said all her time was spent in the gym. Hours upon hours of training, of conditioning, of perfecting her techniques. This is the key to success for any athlete. Likewise, as Christians building up our spiritual muscles will be the key to us living a successful Christian life. It will take hours of our time in prayer, worship, and reading, studying, meditating on the Word.
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in his law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.” Psalms 1:2-3
“Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You” Psalms 119:10
The Word is our number one weapon for victorious living. The more we know it, understand it and can apply it to our daily lives, the more victorious we will be. We will be able to defend ourselves in time of temptation, resist the devil, and when needed, encourage ourselves to stay in the race and keep fighting the good fight of faith.
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” Ephesians 6:17
Much of our defeat comes from our lack of time spent in the Word. Unfortunately we spend much of our time on social media, entertainment, leisure things, rather than time in the Scriptures, personal devotional, and sadly, prayer.
Olympians spend years preparing for the Olympics. For some, their sacrifice and vigorous training paid off and they won a gold, silver or bronze medal. How much more should we as Christians sacrifice our time, train and build ourselves up to do the work of the Lord? To live disciplined lives, so that we can defeat sin, have joy-filled, contented lives, and please our Savior.Champions for Christ win an entire city with streets paved in gold Click To Tweet
Unlike winning a gold medal, living a victorious life on earth will spill over into Heaven. We will get our crown, live in a city with streets paved in gold and dwell in the presence of our Savior forever.