By Tyson Thorne

February 15, 2018

Olympics Large

Last week the 23rd winter Olympic games began. Back in 1896, when the modern Olympic games were first observed, the goal for international competition was to break down cultural barriers and to bring people together. Such noble goals are often stated and are sincerely attempted, but it is infrequent to have success in doing so. It would appear success was reached this year, as North Korea joins in the games being held in South Korea, the two leaders getting together to talk. As inspirational as it may be, there are even greater things to learn from the Olympic games.

"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." — 1 Corinthians 9.24-25

Corinth was a city that hosted many sporting events. Paul used this example from their culture to emphasize how being a servant of God requires as much dedication and training as an Olympic athlete. One person who knows the pressures of both is Alexa Scimeca Knierim. Alexa nad her husband, Chris, are competitive couple-skaters. Shortly after their wedding in 2016, Alexa suffered from a severe abdominal illness — so severe it nearly cost her life. Three surgeries and hours of rehab later, she was back on skates.

Alexa is more than an athlete and a survivor of physical illness, she and her husband are also followers of Jesus. At first, some of the couples routine was off-limits as it would have stressed and torn her incisions. She remembers, "I may have lost a lot of faith in myself, but I grew with my faith in God." After a year of hard work and training, Alexa and Chris entered competition at the 2017 World Championships and are now competing in the Olympics for Team USA. "I have some insecurities now that I didn't have before," Alexa said, "but I'm able to work on it and move forward because I've shifted my focus and my attention to my faith instead of myself."

Alexa is on the right path. As we've said before here at, she has started to invert worldly wisdom and is understanding that life is less a physical existence and primarily a spiritual one. This leads to two truths. The first truth is that Life is first about God, and then about the welfare of others. The second truth is that man is an eternal spiritual being living a temporary physical existence. By understanding and acting on these truths we train our thinking and behavior to be in sync with our faith. We challenge ourselves to change ourselves so that, as Paul wrote, we might receive an imperishable crown. In Alexa's case, we are confident of her crown and wish her God's best for winning a Gold medal.

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