Do we take our calling that seriously? Extreme sports require extreme dedication, extreme training, and sometimes they do involve extreme danger. In all these things they are like Christianity. Now I’m not suggesting for a minute that Christianity is a sport, just that like extreme sports, Christianity has some extreme challenges. Although the Book of Ecclesiastes says that “Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes” (Ecclesiastes 7:18 NIV), that is talking about being extremely bad on the one hand, or self-righteous on the other. The Bible makes it clear that true living religion is going to involve some extremes:
* Extreme dedication: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5).
* Extreme training: “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” (1 Corinthians 9:25)
* Extreme danger: “Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea” (2 Corinthians 11:25).
This last extreme may not apply in our own situation. We may be spared the dangers faced by believers in many parts of the world (http://www.persecution.org/), though we should, of course, be involved in praying for those who are endangered. But the truth is, Christianity should be an extreme activity. If our Christian walk is not extreme in the first two of these ways, perhaps we are missing out on something.
The rewards of our extreme commitment and training certainly far outweigh the “blood, sweat and tears” put into them. Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 9:25 that the rewards are far beyond the momentary highs of extreme physical activities: they are both extreme and eternal. Just as extreme sports often become the lives of those practicing them, shouldn’t the extreme activities of our calling become our lives, too?
This week we uploaded a new article on the Strategic Understanding page, “The Truth About Tebow”. This reproduces a Bible Advocate article Sherri Langton wrote early last year looking back on the Tim Tebow phenomenon. Although, as Sherri rightly surmised, the phenomenon would pass, her retrospective on Tebow’s impact has some very interesting thoughts on how events sometimes work out in the scheme of things.