Determination Is Often Mind Over Matter – Part Seven

“Know you not that they which run in a race run all, but one receives the prize? So run, that you may obtain. And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beats the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”  I Corinthians 9: 24 – 27

Switzerland’s Gabriela Andersen-Schiess competed in the first Olympic marathon for women. Having such an event was questionable at the time. It was considered to be too great of a distance for women to run. The inaugural women’s Olympic marathon was held at the Los Angeles 1984 Summer Games. It was a challenge for all of the female competitors. She, like others, was tempted to quit, but that was not an option. However, her refusal to quit the race despite the exhausting conditions and suffering from dehydration led to an iconic Olympic. Wobbly and weaving her torso was bent to the left. Disillusion caused her to lose her goal for a time. She struggled through the last 500 meters of the race, suffering the grotesque effects of heat exhaustion. Her face slack, her body twisted, she lurched around the coliseum track, moving away from officials who offered to help her, she finished the race.

Later she said at times you have to keep your mind on the objective, not your body. All of us have such times when our focus is threatened and we have to refocus and rededicate ourselves to our objective.  

Since that eventful day she has acknowledged that her life has been filled with moments like this, that it has always had adventures and misadventures, accidents and close calls. She speaks for most people.

Her tenacity in finishing the race was acknowledged to be focus. To live for Jesus requires the same focus. Her focus on her goal overruled her bodily agony.

Pleasing the Lord should be our focus. We must constantly be “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12: 2)

Like Jesus we must be focused on the joy set before us. The joy is being an overcoming victor in our spiritual competition.

Our mind must be filled with God’s Word and our will focused on it. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4: 8)

Here is the winning result of a focused life: “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)