Saturday, May 20, 2006

Striving Lawfully

“And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” (2 Tim.2:5)

Like many of you, I enjoy watching the Olympics, both the winter and summer ones. I marvel at the physical abilities of these young (and not so young) athletes and am amazed at their determination to push themselves to the limits of, and in some cases, beyond, their natural capabilities. However, you are aware, I’m sure that there are some whose drive to win causes them to seek ways to “enhance” their natural abilities in order to do better than they could otherwise, giving them an unfair advantage over other contestants. For instance, I was watching during the summer Olympics in Athens in 2004, when it was announced that the winner of the gold medal in the women’s shot-put competition was being stripped of her award because she failed a drug test. She took a chance that she would not be found out, and she lost.

Paul says in 2 Timothy that, as Christians, it is possible to think we are winning the race in our Christian lives because of seeming spiritual successes. But, sadly, our great “feats” will not pass the Judge’s test if we break the rules. And, make no mistake; there are rules. Customs change; but the rules do not. Uniforms may look different; but Biblical standards of decorum remain the same. Equipment may be updated; the God’s guidelines for procedure are never outdated. Those rules unequivocally laid by the great “Rule-maker of the Universe” are timeless.

God’s rules are not arbitrary, nor are they man-made. They are fair, and we can be sure, well thought out. Neither are they vague. That is only true of those activities and practices that fall under the category of “doubtful disputations” (Rom.14:1& 14). God’s standards of conduct (and competition) are precise, as found in the eternal Word of God (James 1:21). Therefore, if you and I are striving for the mastery in the Christian life, we must constantly refer to the Rule-book; because we only cross the finish line a winner when we have striven lawfully.

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