I have been glued to my television every night for the past week, watching the prime time cover of the 2016 Olympic Games from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Even though I am exhausted trying to stay up and watch all the coverage, I absolutely love the Olympics. It does not matter if it is the summer games, winter games, if I know anything about the sport, or anything about any of the athletes competing. It is just fun to watch
There have been a few reports over the last week about some of the prominent American athletes that put God above even their competitions, and it is refreshing to hear that. Of course, the broadcasters try to stay away from reporting things like that, but some Christian organizations have been trying to make sure they get the word out about how God impacts the lives of these athletes that we get to enjoy watching.
After an event a few nights ago, however, not even the reporters could keep the name of Jesus being proclaimed! I do not know if you saw it or not, but was one of the best things that I have seen on television in a long time. David Boudia and Steele Johnson are American divers that competed in the Men’s 10-Meter Platform Synchronized Diving competition, the finals being on Monday, August 8. Both men have a strong Christian faith that I had already heard about from some acquaintances that have met them in person.
They had the competition of their lives, winning the Silver Medal behind the heavily favored Chinese team. Winning Silver in the Olympic games in any sport has got to be an incredible feeling, especially when you know that the team that beat you was supposed to beat you. As usual, the broadcast quickly interviewed the American team, to get their thoughts on what had just occurred and if they were pleased with the results. The interviewer also asked how the pair was able to stay so in sync with each other, and not succumb to the nerves that had to accompany competing at this top level.
And that was when God was brought to the front of the stage! Boudia and Johnson both let their faith in God shine on a world stage that night. Surprisingly to me, the company covering the Olympics actually aired the interview, but I am so glad that they did. Boudia started the interview stating that the way he handled the nerves was realizing that his identity did not lie in how well he did in the competition. He said something along the lines of “When your identity if found in Christ, as long as you give your maximum effort, nothing else matters.” Wow, what great perspective!
Then the interview turned to Johnson. I got the impression that the interviewer turned to him so quickly trying to move past the mention of the name of Jesus, but it did not work out that way. Johnson doubled down on giving God all the glory. He echoed Boudia’s statement of his identity being found in Christ alone, not in the outcome of the diving competition. Jesus was being proclaimed in a great and powerful way. Watching the broadcast, it literally had chills running up and down my spine.
If we claim to be followers of Christ, then we have to realize the truth behind what Boudia and Johnson shared. Our identity is found in nothing other than Jesus Christ. It is when we get our focus blurred, or our priorities misplaced, and try to make our identity in our own accomplishments that life gets messy. And it may not be your accomplishments; it may be your relationships, the size of your bank account, or whatever else you try to identify yourself by. Paul writes in II Corinthians 5:16-21;
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
In Christ Jesus, we are a new creation. That should be encouraging to us! We do not have to worry about where our identity comes from. Our worth is not found in anything other than being a child of God. No matter what comes our way, we can claim our identity in Christ as a Christ follower. Then and only then can we live out the words of Paul in Philippians 4:10-13;
10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
The last verse there is one that you are probably familiar with. It is one that many use to make the claim that they can do anything with the help of Jesus, especially in sports. While there may or may not be truth in that, in context Paul is telling us that we can live in a state of contentment, no matter what is happening in our lives at the time, through the strength found in Jesus. This is possible only when we make the conscious decision to find our identity in Jesus and Jesus alone. When we can keep that perspective, then nothing can rattle us! Of course, we are all human, and will lose that perspective from time to time, but just remember, our identity is in Christ and in Christ alone!
Thoughts From a Crosseyed Jesus Freak