The Olympics have been going on for about a week now. I love watching them and hearing the stories of all the athletes. They train their whole lives and give up so much in order to win the gold. Their dedication and sacrifice is inspiring. Several times the Bible compares our walk with Christ to athletes. The difference between them and us is that it’s not our works that win us the prize. The work was done by Jesus. In return, we dedicate our lives to Him.
So much of what we do in life is a reward for our work. It’s hard not to confuse our Christian walk with the norm of life. The works that we do should be born out of our faith, not to win God’s approval. The great news is that you don’t have to win His approval. He loves you just the way He made you. You are worth more than gold to Him. Live your life for Him, run your race focusing on Him, and trust the work of the cross.
Here are some Bible verses about competition.
1. Surely you know that many runners take part in a race, but only one of them wins the prize. Run, then, in such a way as to win the prize.
1 Corinthians 9:24 GNT
2. And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
Ephesians 6:10-12 MSG
3. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
1 Corinthians 9:27 NLT
4. Let no one defraud you by acting as an umpire and declaring you unworthy and disqualifying you for the prize, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, taking his stand on visions [he claims] he has seen, vainly puffed up by his sensuous notions and inflated by his unspiritual thoughts and fleshly conceit.
Colossians 2:18 AMP
5. I do not claim that I have already succeeded or have already become perfect. I keep striving to win the prize for which Christ Jesus has already won me to himself. Of course, my friends, I really do not think that I have already won it; the one thing I do, however, is to forget what is behind me and do my best to reach what is ahead. So I run straight toward the goal in order to win the prize, which is God’s call through Christ Jesus to the life above.
Philippians 3:12-14 GNT
6. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules.
2 Timothy 2:5 NLT
7. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:8 NLT
8. Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.
Galatians 6:4-5 MSG
9. I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].
Philippians 4:13 AMP
10. For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it. God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus he has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do.
Ephesians 2:8-10 GNT