1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV)
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
There are many contests like those described by Paul above. Below are some examples of contests and results of the athletes from Canada who participated in them:
2016 Canadian Olympic in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Medals Standings
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2016 Arctic Winter Games in Nuuk, Greenland
2015 Summer Universiade Games in Gwangju, South Korea
2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland
God’s ways are not our ways. He has different ways to measure and reward the races, fights, and contests we are a part of. As we contest with the struggles that enter our lives, the parallel of the preparation an athlete becomes very real to us. Not all athletes win and many are eliminated along the pathway to the main event. Yet there is no shortage of those who desire the win the prize.
Our struggles are often spiritual, not against flesh and blood. We are a part of God’s kingdom. Our coach, mentor, and biggest fan is Jesus – and our reward is found in Him.