A few days ago, I wrote about being double-minded and the fact that Jesus calls us to be single-minded in following Him. If you’ve caught any of the Olympics, you have an idea of single-minded pursuit. In the last several days, I’ve seen dozens of young men and women reap the rewards of years of labor in their chosen sport. They may have some wisdom for us as we learn how to single-mindedly follow after Christ.
They have a coach – Whether it’s a former Olympian, a renowned expert in the sport or someone who is primarily a motivator, each athlete depends on a coach to succeed. How much more successful would we be following Jesus if we regularly consulted with and got feedback from someone who has been at it longer than we have?
They watch their diet – Athletes eat a carefully selected diet and meticulously adhere to it. One competitor admitted to splurging on pizza and fries once the events were over. We could benefit too, if we paid strict attention to what we consume, and not just food. What media, what messages and what attitudes are we taking in? Are they helping or hindering our walk?
They have a training plan – Emphasis on plan. Most athletes stick with a regimen that focuses on strengthening every aspect of their sport, whether it’s speed, balance, strength or skills. They practice until things become automatic. They analyze each performance, sometimes each practice session, smoothing things out, tweaking here and there. We tend to go along passively as we follow Jesus. How might things change if we intentionally focused on the disciplines? What if we devoted time, effort and study to things like prayer, worship or evangelism? Or learned how to study or teach or lead or minister?
They have a priority – The gold is the goal. Period. End of story. We don’t want to be seen as fanatics, so we gravitate to a more dilute devotion.
Now, most Olympic athletes have short careers, a few years at most, and often they have one chance, one moment to make all their effort, sacrifice and dedication pay off. We as believers have a lifetime, followed by eternity. Unlike an Olympic athlete who captures our attention for a few weeks, a Jesus follower can make an everlasting difference in those around him or her. While that should encourage us, it more often leads to complacency.
The stakes are high. The call is urgent. The choice is ours. In or out?
Double-minded or single-minded?