It must be an amazing journey to become a participant in the Olympics. The process usually starts when a person is very young and someone has his or her sights set on the Olympic prize for a child or young person. They need sponsors, lots of money and the opportunity to practice at time 24/7. They win at school events and then in the community, state and country. They work hard for a goal, the medals and a place in history. Whether for a team or as an individual the Olympian is the best of the best.
In some religions there are systematic ways by which with much striving, working, self-denial and self-discipline one can attain to the goal of being welcomed into the religious community, into the company of the elite. But here I want to say that with Jesus it is different.
It is sort of like being made an Olympian first and then getting to practice until you reach perfection. Let me explain.
When Jesus began his ministry he told all people that they were welcomed into the Kingdom of God by his invitation. Say yes to the invite and they were ‘in’. Recall the Beatitudes, ‘Blessed are the poor for theirs is the Kingdom of God.’ (Luke 6:20) Jesus is not saying that the state of being poor is blessed. It’s not. But to those who were poor, and whose poverty was seen as disfavor by God, Jesus said they were welcome into this Kingdom that had been newly inaugurated on earth through his presence.
Jesus starts with the goal and once enlisted those who follow him will be taught how to live life in the Kingdom of God. They will be challenged to become perfect even as their heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48) And that’s a good thing because that kind of life is the good life, the God life in us.
New life has come in Jesus and all we need do is place our trust in him and begin the journey. Will the journey be arduous at times? You bet but here’s the great thing. The coach will stay with us through the whole experience. In fact the coach, mysterious as this might sound, will place his life in ours.
I suspect if you are an Olympian athlete the coach’s voice will become ingrained into your very soul. Well, take the words of Jesus and let them soak into your mind. The Bible puts it like this, “Let the word of Christ dwell richly in you.” (Colossians 3:16) By word and Spirit we can’t go wrong.
So no matter your condition when Jesus meets up with you please know that you are welcome into the Kingdom of his Father. It’s a brand new exciting life. And for the rest of your life you can have the pleasure of being in the day-to-day Olympics of living here and now in the Kingdom of God.