Friday, July 18, 2008

Doping on the Tour

NARBONNE, France — The Tour de France, already diminished by the absence of some of the world’s best cyclists because of doping violations, was thrown into turmoil yet again Thursday when an Italian rider who had won two stages of this year’s race was kicked out of the competition for failing a drug test.

I have a keen interest in the Tour de France but if situations like this continue it may be difficult to maintain enthusiasm. One of the reasons bicycling is so interesting is because of the physical and mental effort required to achieve a victory and in some cases even finish. The effort is minimized if we find out that the athlete actually achieved his success through doping.

This situation brings to mind Paul’s admonition in 2 Timothy 2:5

“… if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.”

This analogy of not competing according to the rules was to help us remember that the rule of life for a Christian includes hardship.

2 Timothy 2:3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

The world in which we live today puts such a premium on achievement that we may have a tendency to accomplish our goals without putting forth the steady methodical effort that is required.

Christians can also fall victim to the lure of easy street. To grow in grace and knowledge of God requires daily prayer, Bible study, and regular fellowship with Christians. There are no short cuts to sanctification.

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