I have loved watching the Olympic skiing. I sit slack-jawed as I watch Bode Miller and Lindsay Vonn attack the slopes with absolute abandon. I have skiied a little over the years although, to be authentic, my form more closely resembles Herman Munster on skis than Bode Miller. Still I have experienced enough to know how amazing and fearless these athletes are.
They come down the mountain on the absolute edge, pushing their limits with each run. I found myself desiring a little more of that in my own life. Not the skiing part. If I attempted what Bode Miller did yesterday you would be planning a lovely memorial for me at a local chapel. But I would like to take that attitude of fearlessness and living on the edge to my spiritual race. I have too often been tentative and uncertain. A skiier has to trust that if he puts his full weight on the skis and into the turn that he can make the turn and not fall.
Just like I tend to sit back on my skis I also have a tendency to not put my full weight on the spiritual truths of identity in Christ and grace as the course to my righteousness. My instinct is to shift my weight onto self-effort when I hit a life mogul. Not surprisingly, I fall. It feels counterintuitive when you are skiing to put your weight onto the skis and into the mountain when every part of your body says lean back. But experience tells you if you lean back you end up on your back or on parts nearby. It feels counterintuitive to lean on grace and dependence on the Spirit to resolve my sin issues when I want to pull back and trust my efforts.
Grace is an exhilarating run. I am still learning to keep my full weight on the practical theology of grace and who God says I am in Christ. Paul’s words to the Corinthian church sums up my desire.
You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.
I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.(The Message)