Ever Faithful: The Athlete Pt 1

The Athlete Part 1

2 Timothy 2:1-7

Based on the Paul’s writings, he was a great lover of sports, or at the least, his audience was. He uses analogies of the athlete often throughout his letters. This is almost certainly due to the universal popularity of the Olympic games in the Greek/Gentile world. Athletes were rigorously trained and the ancient Greeks were proud of athleticism. They admired strength and talent, but all of these things were mute if the competitor refused to follow the rules.  Here in 2 Timothy chapter two, Paul focuses this trait: Obedience to the Rules.

Subverting the Rules

There was no prize in winning the bout through unfair means because it undermines the purpose of competition. If all athletes abided by the same rules, their talents would shine and the prize would be won according to their ability in the activity, not the subversion of it.
Christians today often feel like they can “win the prize” while subverting the rules. They make compromises both publicly and privately and believe they are still guaranteed a win and, in doing so, they sow the seed of their own defeat. We use the word compromise, but in reality it is cheating. Cheating can be defined as ” to avoid (something undesirable) by luck or skill.” A Christian attempting to cheat God’s judgement based on their righteousness compared to someone else’s,  is a lie both to themselves, their fellow athletes and to God.
There is no cutting corners with God’s game. It is a serious matter. We should not feel compelled to cheat, because in reality if we do cheat, we only cheat ourselves and not God. God uses faithful athletes, faithful in conformity to His statutes and principles, not only in training but also on the field of open competition.


  • Ask yourself today, how are you running your race? Are you following the rules are trying to avoid them?
  • What can you do different to ensure you are running the race of the Christian life according to God’s rules?
Written by: Bill Crawford
September 2020
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