This summer the Olympic Games will be held in London. I look forward to watching my favorite events: swimming and gymnastics. I’ve spent some time researching the Olympics, and I think there are a lot of things we can learn from athletes, from the Ancient Olympics, and the Modern Olympic movement. We can make connections between living in our strengths and living the Olympic dream.
Let’s begin with Lighting the Flame. The lighting of the flame is the symbol to the world that the Olympics are fast approaching.
The Olympic Torch was ignited in May in Greece at the site of the ancient Olympics. It was then passed to a Greek athlete who began a seven-day relay through Greece, followed by a flight to Great Britain. Then it began a 70-day journey, changing hands 8,000 times on its way to London.
This Olympic Torch Relay will end on the day of the opening ceremony when the final torch bearer will run towards the cauldron and using the torch, will light the flame in the stadium. The flame will continue to burn throughout the Olympics and will be extinguished on the day of the closing ceremony.
The image is a beautiful one. All flames come from a common source. Runners are in a relay moving toward the same goal. The world feels a sense of international unity. People come together for a common cause, a celebration of achievement. We see lots of people moving with a sense of purpose.
These images call to mind the common cause of Christ Followers.
We too come from a common source. We too are runners in a relay moving toward the same goal. We too want a sense of international unity with people coming together for a common cause. We too celebrate achievement. We too come together with a sense of purpose….for as long as the flame is lit.
For as long as our flame is lit …and therein lies our problem. Often our flame of purpose is extinguished. We lose our fire, our zeal for following Christ day to day. We live in our strengths for a while and then we fall back into old habits and our weaknesses reappear. It’s often hard to live in our purpose and to live in our strengths on a consistent basis. Consistently shining our light for Christ is often a challenge.
But we are called to…keep on keeping on. We are to live in our strengths and our purpose so that we can be the light in the world. The way we keep in keeping on is to stay close to the source of our light.
Our Olympic size lesson is…
To stay on fire for Christ, we must live close to the flame.
Jesus tells us in John 8:12, "I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life."
Christ is our flame. In order for us to reflect his light, we must live very close to him. Living close to our flame means we need to follow him, read his word, pray to him, meditate on him, and really listen for his voice.
The Olympic motto is Citius, Altius, Fortius, a Latin expression meaning "Faster, Higher, Stronger".
Let’s run our race for the light of the world “faster, higher, stronger.”
To view a video of Living in Your Strengths Session 1: Lighting the Flame, click below.