Thursday, January 20, 2011

LESSONS FROM PAUL'S SPORTS ANALOGIES!

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but [only] one receives the prize? So run [your race] that you may lay hold [of the prize] and make it yours". 1 Corinthians 9:24 AMP
Ruins of an ancient Greek Palestra in Sardis
The middle of January sees all kinds of major sports  milestones - the NCAA College Football Champs have been decided and college hoops are taking off; Ice Hockey is back in vogue and a few people even watch the NBA (pro basketball)! Most are focused on America's sport - the National Football League's playoffs! Both College and Pro Football are known to have the vast majority of Christian athletes in America.  This is a testimony to the Fellowship of Christ Athletes (FCA) and their tireless work in the schools of America.
The Apostle Paul's writing is absolutely rich in its sports analogies (see above and in other places where he talks about "boxing" etc.). In fact one of my favorite examples is Ephesians 6:12 (KJV) ..."For we wrestle not against  flesh and blood but against principalities against powers against the rulers of the darkness of this world against spiritual wickedness in high places". The word "wrestle" is "pale" - NOT Pale....but "pah-lay" from the root word palestrum.  This is specific meaning to the churches in those major cities where Paul planted churches. The Palestra was a multi level combat sports arena in the ancient Greek culture where all kinds of wrestling and physical contact sports occurred. Paul used that actual example to illustrate to the Ephesians (and us) that we face a level of demonic structure in the principalities of hell which is totally unfathomable!
Taken as a whole, and knowing of these things, we are to aggressively and proactively contend for our faith in an evil and hostile world...a world where even church theologies and the doctrines of man are stumbling blocks. As we seek to train up our youth "in the way they should go" let's follow the simple process which Paul laid out in the verse above.
Very succinctly, he gave us 5 extremely mportant Principles:
1. ACKNOWLEDGMENT  (Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete..)
You MUST know WHO you are in Christ, if you are really saved (by examining yourself daily to see if ye be in the Faith)
You MUST then know WHOSE you are!
You MUST acknowledge we are in on a journey that will never End...The destination is up to you.
2. RECOGNITION ( but [only] one receives the prize )
YOU MUST RECOGNIZE THERE IS A REWARD AT THE END OF THIS JOURNEY!
3.PURSUIT (So run [your race] )
You MUST actively pursue and seek daily a closer, more intimate Relationship with God, through Christ...and that can only be done through Worship, the Word and Prayer!
4. POSSESSION (you may lay hold [of the prize] )
Are you a Profess- or (mouthing the words with no heart change) or a Possessor?
5.  OWNERSHIP ( make it yours)
If Christ possesses you, do you now OWN HIM...so to speak? Do you really FOLLOW, BELONG and LOVE HIM with all your heart, mind and soul?
I will expand on this brief blog in a future posting on the BMIC website and my blog, but these five brief points can point us to such a magnificent mile ahead, the joy in the journey will be so overpowering that you will wish you had known them before! Now this, my friends, is big time Championship styled winning in the only game that counts! This game is not the Super Bowl or the Stanley Cup, but the deadly serious game of Life!
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