Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tour De France

Tour De France

I became interested in the Tour De France a few years when the American Lance Armstrong was beginning his quest to win the race an unprecedented seven times in a row. The only reason he did not win eight in a row is because he retired from the sport.

I thought I would no longer have an interest in the sport after his departure but when July rolled around the following year there was something that caused me to see who would pick up the mantle as the tour champion. The sport has officially caught my interest.

Cycling is a fascinating sport because it uniquely blends team work and individual effort into a symphony of dramatic triumph that is paced out one strategic stage at a time. If the sport has not caught your attention yet it may be worth a glance.

One of the essential characteristics of a professional cyclist is discipline. They must say no to a number of things that will not help them achieve their goal. They must push through the pain of the moment to achieve the victory in the end.

This circumstance is a fitting modern day analogy to the Apostle Paul’s use of a soldier, athlete, and farmer in 2 Timothy 2.

"You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things." (2 Timothy 2:1-7, NKJV)

A lot of people ask me to pray for them that they would have victory over sin or would grow stronger in their faith. Success in the Christian life is not something that comes by accident. As Christians we are made positionally holy in Christ and called to practical holiness in this life.

Paul described the way he achieved his practical holiness as literally giving himself a black eye.

"But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified." (1 Corinthians 9:27, NKJV)

The Christian has one additional advantage because this discipline is actually a fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:23) and can be powerfully unleashed as we spend time with Christ in His Word and in prayer.

"“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." (John 15:5, NKJV)

So enjoy the excellence of a well disciplined athlete and use it as a reminder of the glory of God that will be on display in your life as you kill the flesh with the sword of the Spirit.

"For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." (Romans 8:13, NKJV)

Top 20 Riders of the Tour De France

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