Your daily Olympic devotional
A snippet from a new sports devotional, The Spirit of Victory. Available through your favourite bookstore.
Changing teams - Colossians 3
Jana Pittman was the best hurdler in the world. In 2003 and again in 2007 she won the 400-meter hurdles world championships. Unfortunately for Pittman during a warmup event for the 2004 Olympics, she tore cartilage in her right knee. Pittman underwent surgery just a week before the Olympics and remarkably battled her way into 5th place in the Olympic final.
Pittman retired from athletics but in a turn of events, she took up the sport of bobsledding and competed at the 2014 winter games. In doing so Jana Pittman became the first female Australian athlete to compete at the summer and winter Olympics. There are significant differences between hurdles and bobsled. As Pittman trained, she became a faster sprinter and more muscular in order to have the explosive power needed for a bobsled race.
Jana Pittman changed from one sport to another. Paul, in Colossians chapter 3, says we’ve gone through an even bigger change; we’ve moved kingdoms! Paul says that we’ve been rescued from the kingdom of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of His son.
Our old lives were characterized by greed, lust, anger, bitterness, lies, and pride. Paul says we are to take off our old nature and put on our new nature. This is like getting changed to go to a party; off come the tracksuit pants and our grubby t-shirt and we put on new clothes. Citizens of God's kingdom are characterized by tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
In our world, people value those who are rich, famous, attractive, smart, and seen to be successful. Those things don't matter in God's kingdom; the labels and titles of our old life don't count anymore. You're a child of God and a citizen of heaven and that won't change whether you have a Ph.D. or a criminal record.
Like Jana Pittman, we've changed teams and we need to learn a whole new way of living. How much time do you invest trying to be accepted by the standards of this world? The dollars in your account, your followers on Instagram, and your awards all pale into insignificance compared to your identity as a citizen of God’s kingdom.
Paul wrote that we shouldn’t conform to the customs and patterns of this world. Paul said that instead, we should let God transform our thinking so that we think about the things of heaven not the things of earth.
Travis Barnes lives in central Victoria with his wife and two daughters. He is a contributor for Christian Today and a sportswriter.