Summary: Spiritual Olympian, with a ’go for the goal’ mindset, respect God’s discipline.
Title: Olympians Respect God’s Discipline
Text: Hebrews 12:5-11
The Big Idea: Spiritual Olympians, with a “go for the goal” mindset, respect God’s discipline.
Series: Spiritual Olympians: Going for the Goal, is based on Hebrews 12:1-13 and designed to coincide with the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, August 8 – 24 and beyond. It is a series developed from Go for the Goal: Become a Spiritual Champion, Mainstay Ministries.
The 400 Meter is called a “dash” race. The 400 Meter is, in my estimation, the most grueling of races. Clyde Hart, Head Track and Field Coach at Baylor University says the 400 Meter “incorporates the speed of the sprinter and the endurance of the half miler.” The Olympian who runs the 400 Meter race has to train so as to be able to maintain superior speed over a longer distance. A sprinter dashes down the track in the 100 Meter… the 400 Meter runner maintains the 100 meter dash effort for 400 meters. It is an extremely gutsy race.
“The 400 meters is an oxygen-deficient event… proper training will help the athlete learn to deal with the stress that they will face toward the end of the 400 meter run. We know that severe exercising imposes great stress on the body, and it must learn to adapt to this stress or it will break down. We also know that when the body is gradually put under stress, it will do whatever is necessary for its own well being to adjust to this new environment. When an organism is conditioned to the stress of athletic competition, it will be able to perform in that environment when called upon.” (Clyde Hart, Head Track and Field Coach, Baylor University)
Let’s watch Sanya Richards’ body is able to adjust to the extreme stress of the race she has prepared for.
Play YouTube Video of Sanya Richards
Because of copy right laws, we could not show you the film clip from the 2008 Olympics where we saw the outcome of the rigors and discipline of that kind of training when the USA Women’s 4X400 Meter Relay team ran in Beijing. Perhaps you saw it when Sanya Richards received the baton to anchor the final leg of the race, she was well behind the Russian runner who continued to lead for the next 300 meters. Then down the final stretch Richards closed the gap and won the Gold Medal for the US Team… an incredible demonstration of speed and endurance that can happen only when one has submitted to the rigors of athletic discipline or training.
The text begins with the thought that what we are about to unpack is intended to be of encouragement to us.
1. Spiritual Olympians do not make light of God’s discipline.
Have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you, his children? “My son, do not make light of (ignore) the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart (be discouraged) when he rebukes (corrects) you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son (his children).” 12:5-6
The first thing necessary is that we understand what the term discipline means. The text refers to both discipline and punishment… we commonly think of discipline as the execution of punishment. Certainly, chastisement or punishment is a part of discipline… but the primary understanding of this text is not that of a God who whips or beats us when we do bad things.