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Attributes of the Athlete

01.07.18 | by Keith Russell

Attributes of the Athlete

    THE APOSTLE PAUL WAS A SPORTS FAN. That should resonate with many of you! He often compared the Christian life to an athletic event. The goal of an athlete is fitness, but the goal of a Christian is Christlikeness. In Philippians 3:12-16, Paul gave some advice to those who are pursuing Jesus. As we begin The Year of Discipleship, I want to share some thoughts from that text with you.

    THERE WAS SOME DISSATISFACTION (v.12). Paul was not satisfied with where he was spiritually. Let that sink in! The great Apostle Paul was not satisfied! He had not arrived. He was not perfect. He had not reached the goal of Christlikeness. He evaluated his life and saw there was room for improvement. None of us will ever be spiritually perfect this side of eternity, but that should be our goal. We need some holy dissatisfaction!

    THERE WAS SOME DEDICATION (v.13). Paul mentioned two things he was dedicated to: (1) “forgetting those things which are behind”; (2) “reaching forth unto those things which are before”. Forgetting does not mean to fail to remember, but to fail to be influenced by. The past is the past. Let go of it, whether good or bad. Reaching means to be straining with every muscle. Straining for what? The goal of being like Jesus!

    THERE WAS SOME DETERMINATION (v.14). Like all athletes, Paul was determined to win the race. This verse pictures a hunter who is determined in pursuing his prey or a runner reaching for the finish line. When the training gets hard and the going gets rough, the only thing that will keep you going is the prize at the finish line. Wherever you are on your journey right now, don’t give in and don’t give up!

    THERE WAS SOME DISCIPLINE (vv.15-16). A winning athlete must have two things: (1) the right attitude; (2) the right action. Someone has said that attitude determines altitude. But, a good attitude alone is not enough. It must be coupled with good action. I suggest the following actions: read your Bible daily, spend time in prayer daily, and serve the Lord daily. Welcome to The Year of Discipleship!