Christians: Do You Have the Passion of a Triathlete?
As I drove to church on a beautiful Sunday morning, I pulled into a clearing. I watched cyclists whiz by, completely "caught up" in the rapture of triathlon competition. Their commitment to excellence was evident. Their passion was complete. I was a spectator looking out my car window as others were "off the bench," living their passion. And I wondered...
What would our Christian life look like if we lived it with a similar commitment and passion for Jesus? Instead of focusing on three sports (running, swimming, and cycling), we focused on the 5 Biblical Ministries (Evangelism, Education, Fellowship, Worship, and Service). I wonder if God would smile and say, "well done!" as we pass by in this world, Off The Bench, taking His message to the lukewarm spectators.
What is Passion?
What is passion? Passion is one word that means one thing one moment and then transforms into something radically different the next. Here are just two of the many ways we define passion:
A strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept.
The sufferings of Christ between the Last Supper and His death.
Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary
I could see love for a sport in the faces of the competitors. Love drove them through the physical pain and suffering they felt in the moment, mile after mile.
It seems paradoxical, doesn't it? How one emotion--passion--can express love and suffer simultaneously. Joy and happiness occupy the same space in time as pain and suffering. I wonder if that's what Jesus felt?
Christian Passion Like a Triathlete
I've known a few elite triathletes in my life, and they are consumed with passion. From their first conscious thought in the morning to their last before sleep, they are training and "living" for the next triathlon.
What if lukewarm Christians and on-fire believers alike were so consumed? If we maintained a laser focus on God, moment by moment, step by step, as we go about our daily lives? "Training" our mind, body, and spirit to find Christ in all, especially as we look in the mirror.
What if lukewarm Christians would pull to the side of the road, look out their car window, and see the passion on-fire believers have for their work for Jesus? Would that be enough encouragement to get them Off The Bench and engage in God's work?
Would working together, lukewarm and on fire, regardless of color and creed, cause God to notice their effort? Would they all be "caught up" in the moment's rapture and spend eternity with Jesus instead of being spit out forever?
It's Time to Get Off The Bench!
I believe time as we know it is running out. Jesus said,
"When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads because your redemption is drawing near." Luke 21:28
If you are reading this, you are aware of "these things" Jesus was speaking of, and we are seeing them now like never before.
It's time for non-believers to consider the consequences of rejecting God. God clarified His position in the Old Testament,
"Turn to Me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I AM God, and there is no other." Isaiah 45:22
And, it's hard to misunderstand Jesus when He said,
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6
Let's all get Off The Bench and start training for now AND our eternity. What elite triathlete would see an upcoming event on their calendar and fail to train for it? If they fail to prepare, they will suffer the consequences. So will all non-believers and lukewarm Christians.
Trouble or The Great Tribulation
Whether or not we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we will all experience trouble in this life. But how we experience trouble is very different. For believers, Jesus encourages us:
"I have told you these things so that in Me you will have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33
For nonbelievers, all of "these things" we see happening with increased frequency and intensity are cause for suffering without joy. Therefore, passion for the nonbeliever can never be both joy and suffering. It is similar to,
"...'Let us eat and drink,' you say, 'for tomorrow we die.'" Isaiah 22:13
Although there is controversy over The Great Tribulation, the seven years Jesus warned us in the Book of Revelation, believers will be spared what nonbelievers will endure. Jesus said,
"Since you have kept My command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth." Revelation 3:10
That is excellent news for believers and a cause for change among nonbelievers! No triathlon training on earth will prepare one for the trial of The Great Tribulation. Why go through it when you can accept Jesus now, repent, and then endure with joy and everyday suffering in life?
Christians can learn much about passion from on-fire triathletes. Think how our walk with Jesus would change if we became on-fire believers. How our lives would change--forever--if we were as on fire about carrying our cross as triathletes are about running, swimming, and cycling. But God's timer is counting down. You don't have eternity to get off the bench and run your race. Are you on pace to make the cut? Will you be welcomed at the end of the race or left behind?