18 "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."
Romans 8:18 (NIV)
How many times have you seen someone give up when it gets too hard? Sports is a common environment to see that play out. I know I thought a time or two about walking away during conditioning, practice, or from a tough-love coach.
Athletes understand the concept that in order to get better they have to learn from their errors, endure losses and pain, push harder, train more and sacrifice much.
Athlete, since you have to practice this in your sport, you are at an advantage in your walk with Christ because enduring the present suffering of this world is par for the course of knowing Christ.
Paul described to the Corinthians what it looked like to present themselves as servants of God (2 Corinthians 6:3-8), and that was through endurance, afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger. It includes purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love, truthful speech and the power of God.
You might have expected the latter part of the list, but maybe not the first half quite as much. In the same way that you have learned to push past obstacles in your sport, we will have to push past and strive through mental, physical and spiritual obstacles in our faith walk.
Reflection: Where, right now, is it hard for you to choose to keep persevering in your walk with Christ? Where in your sport have you had to persevere?