By Moody Adams
There can be spiritual profit in watching the Olympics. The Bible uses some of their sporting events to teach the keys to victorious living. Here are three lessons that stand out.

1. All the Olympians have a clear goal. Likewise Christians must run straight toward the goal God gives every disciple. So run, that ye may obtain. The runners run to cross a clear finish line. The boxers do not just beat the air, but aim at their opponent.

Christians should runto win (I Corinthians 9:24). "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

Every Christian must find God’s will for their life, know exactly what they are aiming toward and then pursue that goal. Identifying your goal and not being distracted is as important as it is for an Olympic runner.

2. All Olympians adhere to strict discipline. They have to fight with their body to make it do what will help them win, and not just what will feel good. It means a lot of pain. Christians are instructed to follow their example, “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.” … ‘But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection” (I Corinthians 9:25).
Jesus said “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). It is impossible to follow Jesus without denying yourself things you want.

Phelps, who won 8 gold medals, gave up a social life and good times to only eat sleep and swim for years.

3. Olympians are motivated by a reward. Look at the joy of Olympic winners on the victory stand. What they strove for for years has been reached. Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). The way the Olympian stays motivated is to stay focused on the medal he could win.

Jesus said His faithful followers will receive an eternal reward, “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works” (Matthew 16:27).

One day death will take all the Olympic metals away. But on that day those who have followed Jesus will receive a reward that will never be taken away.

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