You are never disqualified…
Colossians 2: 6-19 (NRSVA)
6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. 11 In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; 12 when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, 14 erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.
16 Therefore do not let anyone condemn you in matters of food and drink or of observing festivals, new moons, or sabbaths. 17 These are only a shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Do not let anyone disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, dwelling on visions, puffed up without cause by a human way of thinking, 19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God.
I remember watching Ben Johnson run in the 1988 Summer Olympics, where not only did he win the race, but broke the World Record at that time. Just a few days later, Johnson tested positive for a steroid called stanozolol which resulted in him being stripped of his medal and his record time deleted.
Whether it is something as serious as being caught using steroids or putting a piece of sticky tape under your egg in an egg and spoon race, I cannot imagine what it must feel like to be caught and disqualified. Instead of trusting in our own abilities, training as much as required and trusting in the professionalism of coaches, some are so desperate to have a medal placed around their neck or a trophy for the cabinet that they take extreme and, sometimes, very unorthodox approaches to achieve them.
Paul’s letter to the Colossians reminds us, that as part of Christ’ team, we should be rooted like a tree, built up like a solid structure and established in our life of faith. If we take shortcuts in our life, we do not allow ourselves to establish solid, well nourished roots, thus making us vulnerable to life’s challenges.
As Christians, we are never disqualified from Christ’s team. We are coached by the greatest leader of all, whose crown of thorns is worth more than any gold medal. We have the greatest prize of all — the gift of eternal life, which was made possible by Christ, who took no shortcuts or easy ways out.
May we choose a life where we play by similar rules…
As we run life’s race
May we always be sustained by your love.
As we play our part in the game of life
May we always follow your rules.
As we aim for our goals
May we always meet them with honesty and integrity.