One of the more entertaining parts of professional football in the U.S. are the end-zone celebrations. Once a player crosses the opponent’s goal line with the football securely in his hands, all fun breaks out as he dances and prances around, spikes the football, and is tackled by cheering teammates in what resembles a rugby scrum or miniature mosh pit.
A Stunning Roadside Reminder
I drive past a cemetery every day that features a life-size bronze-colored statue of Jesus alongside the road. One day it struck me that the statue reminded me of a referee signaling a touchdown with raised arms pointed towards the sky.
Ever since that time, every time I pass that statue the name “Touchdown Jesus” comes to mind.
Head for the goal line and the Lord’s raised arms.
Picture this. A faithful Christian believer passes away, enters heaven, and begins to dance and prance as angels and saints pile on in celebration. A glowing figure dressed in an immaculate, brilliant white robe walks up with nail-marked hands and raises his arms to exclaim, “You’re a winner. Well done good and faithful servant!”
Agreed, this picture is certainly more off the proverbial wall than understanding the Christian’s walk and life journey as Paul suggested, a good race. Regardless of the imaginative metaphor you use to picture the moment you pass from your life on earth to an eternity in heaven, it is a time for celebration.
Principles to Keep in Mind
There are a number of principles to keep in mind as you strive to reach life’s goal line and see the Lord with raised arms celebrating your victorious life. A famous Vince Lombardi quote summarizes them. He said, “Football is like life---it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority.”
As a Christian, you didn’t get a trouble-free pass when you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior. Your Christian walk involves being an example, showing perseverance in the face of temptations and struggles, self-denial and sacrifice in the service of others.
It requires a dedication to keeping your eye on the goal, eternity with the Lord. It demands obedience, walking the straight and narrow path to the goal line.
Listen to God's Words
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So, run that you may obtain it. 1 Corinthians 9:24
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14
In the Words of Others
If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere. Frank A. Clark
Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal. Henry Ford
If you wish to be out front, then act as if you were behind. Lao Tzu
We can teach everything, but we can’t teach integrity. We can’t teach integrity, but we can lead by example.
Think About It
Give examples of how you have been focused on walking the straight and narrow path towards the goal line, not being distracted by all the world’s distractions.
Cite three examples of how self-control, self-denial, discipline, or obedience to God’s commands and the Gospel have played a role in your Christian walk thus far.
In what ways have you been a good example for your family, friends, or coworkers who may be struggling in their walk?