PASTOR'S PEN: Becoming Mr. Olympia

Arnold Schwarzenegger began lifting weights when he was 14 years old. He was determined to be the best, leading him to attempt to become Mr. Olympia at the age of 22. He would finish second in that competition, but would come back the following year to win the title, his first win of seven Mr. Olympia competitions. Recently, Arnold was asked about how he came to win the title of Mr. Olympia. Here’s what he had to say:

"What am I more hungry for? Am I more hungry to be Mr. Olympia or am I more hungry to eat like everyone else out there and, therefore, look like everyone else? To me I was more hungry to be Mr. Olympia. And I was more hungry and more interested and more excited about the fact of becoming a champion and being ripped on stage and being cut and winning the trophy and all those kind of things. Because I knew if were to have a temporary joy here and eat and cheat, I am most likely not going to make it."

Arnold had a goal in mind and was laser-focused to reach that goal. He knew that any venture to the side would take him away from what he wanted to become in life. Bodybuilding for Arnold was not a one-time decision and then he could continue to live as he had before. NO! Bodybuilding was a decision that would change the rest of his life. Every decision from then on was one that would improve or detract from his goal of becoming Mr. Olympia.

If we know Christ, this is the same for us. The decision to follow Christ is not a one-time decision and then we go on living as if nothing had ever happened. It is a life-altering decision. Now all other choices are ones that will take us toward our goal of becoming Christ-like or detract from it. Paul reminds us of this in Colossians chapters 2-3,

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him ... Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things ... Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry ... You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived ... whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."

You once had a life full of foolish, 'slob-like' decisions. You were making bad choices. You were a condemned sinner. But now you are one of "God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved."  You have given your life to the LORD of all! How can you live as you did before?! How can you continue in that old life?!

Someone choosing to become a bodybuilder must change their entire life. They no longer live as others do, but they live for a different goal and are excited to reach that goal. Christ-followers must have the same resolve. We should have a passion and excitement to reach the goal of honoring Christ. As such, we banish sin from our lives. We don’t let anything hold us back from pleasing God. We evaluate every choice we make. Today, look at each of your decisions and ask, "Is this taking me a little farther from honoring God or bringing me closer to Him?"