All eyes were on her as she gracefully twirled, her costume catching the light. The crowd stood to their feet and cheered.
She had spent years preparing for this moment. Hours and hours of practice, days of disappointment, followed by nights of fatigue and sore muscles.
Training since childhood, she had sacrificed so much. When other kids were outside riding their bikes, she was practicing. She missed the fun things other teenagers experienced, turning down party invitations and prom dates.
There were so many moments when she wanted to give up, but she continued on. Tonight all of the hard work and sacrifice finally paid off.
She held her head high and waved to her audience as they tossed gifts onto the ice. Then she skated with enthusiasm to her coach. He greeted her with open arms as the scoreboard showed her results.
I watched last month as athletes competed in the Olympics. The networks featured many of their stories, reminding us all of the incredible commitment it takes to become a champion.
Their stories remind me of my own Christian walk. I don’t have to be concerned with a knee injury or a sprained ankle, but being a champion for Christ comes at a cost.
First, I must be willing to sacrifice. I must sacrifice my time and spend moments with Him in prayer and devotion. We sacrifice a portion of our income in tithe and offerings. And, yes, we often sacrifice invitations to the world’s idea of fun (which, as it turns out, aren’t that fun anyway.)
Second, I must be willing to endure the pain. There’s pain with the rejection from being the oddball, the nerd, the weird Christian. There’s pain in my growth in Christ as well.
Third, I must endure. Discipleship requires commitment and obedience to God. I have to stand firm in Christ and press on. There may be days it seems too hard and I want to give up, but God has promised to be faithful. He says He will never leave me nor forsake me. He promises to give me instruction (His Word) along the way.
Yet, with the cost, there is so much to gain!
The sacrifice, pain, and endurance are all worthwhile. My growth as a Christian helps me become the champion He wants me to be.
Best if all, there is a prize! God will reward us for our commitment to Him, and His incredible gifts are more precious than gold.
With that encouragement, I’ll keep training, sore muscles and all. On days when I feel like hanging up my skates, I will press on toward the goal.
My coach is watching and ready to help me along the way. He is waiting with open arms.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day- and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4: 7-8 NIV
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