As if he hadn’t accomplished enough already, not so long ago Tim Tebow published his first book.
On Saturday I finished the 2011 memoir, Through My Eyes. It’s noteworthy that the book is quite compelling without even touching on the Tebowmania of the Denver Broncos’ 2011 season. With some nostalgia I thought back to my own experience of many of the events that Tebow recounts from his own perspective—except for when reading his thankfully brief discussion of the early 2007 Buckeye debacle in the desert. By any measure, Tebow has had an extraordinary life already.
I was surely thankful for Tebow’s direct and heartfelt Christian witness throughout the book, but what may have struck me even more was his competitive spirit and passion. Since I am an intense person myself, Tebow’s book pushed me to consider that God may not want to quell my passion at all, but to redirect it for His glory. The book even made me think about what it means to “win” in the Christian life.
Life does not pit most of us against a foe in a three-point stance, and there is no scoreboard on which we can see our level of faithfulness. This doesn’t mean that there is no foe (see 1 Peter 5:8), nor does it mean that nobody is keeping score (see 2 Corinthians 5:10). In fact, Paul is not ashamed to refer to the Christian life as a race that is hard to win:
Do you not know that all the runners in a stadium compete, but only one receives the prize? So run to win. Each competitor must exercise self-control in everything. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. So I do not run uncertainly or box like one who hits only air. Instead I subdue my body and make it my slave, so that after preaching to others I myself will not be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:24–27 NET).
There is reward in store for the faithful, and we can only attain this reward if we are willing to undergo hardship. This is why athletes undergo strict training. If we are unwilling to dedicate ourselves to the Lord and embrace the often painful preparation that it takes to become spiritually strong, then we cannot expect to perform well.
Are you running to win?