Read This Week: 2 Timothy 2
Anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this. – 2 Timothy 2
The 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea was the first time I realized being a great athlete didn’t make you a great person. Up until that point, like any kid that loves sports, I thought to be a star athlete meant you had to be a star individual.
That all changed after I found out that Ben Johnson, the fastest man on the planet who just broke the world record in the 100 meters in one of the most spectacular moments in Olympic history, was, in fact, a cheater. Someone who had been taking steroids and breaking the rules of the sport to gain an advantage and win. He was stripped of his title days later and suffered humiliation and a greater loss than any victory he experienced on the track.
An athlete who breaks the rules of competition doesn’t win. Even if he or she is the best and devotes years to training. If they don’t follow the guidelines of the game, they lose. The same is true for us in society. We have guidelines, principles, and laws to keep us safe, vital and functioning in a healthy way. If the last couple of years have taught us anything its that it doesn’t matter how rich or talented or powerful you are if you don’t follow the rules, you lose big time.
God gave us his truth and guidelines so we can be successful and ultimately leave a legacy of winning. His rules are not there to kill our fun, hinder our enjoyment or make us miserable. They are for our ultimate good and teach us how to be moral, love, serve, seek justice, apply mercy and thrive in every area.
If we follow God’s rules of competition, we will make better decisions, resist the temptation that can derail our whole world, work with truer diligence, treat our partner with deeper love and lead with greater integrity. God’s truth can even change our outlook and attitude from one of negativity and despair to hopeful joy.
May we go with God, the creator of the universe who always knows what’s best and has laid out perfect guidelines for us to win at life.
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