“YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!” The words every athlete wanted to hear after completing the grueling 2.4 MILE swim, the 112 MILE bike ride and the 26.2 MILE run! All back to back… the Ironman Triathlon. Tradition has it that the announcer would call out each finishers name followed by YOU ARE AN IRONMAN. And then each finisher has the right to live out the slogan “brag for the rest of your life”.
This was a truly amazing athletic event to watch. I wasn’t so interested in the pros completing this event; they make it look easy. Easy it’s not. What I was fascinated by was the ordinary moms, dads, grandparents, students that were trying to complete this difficult task. Where did they find the desire to attempt such a feat much less finish?
But then I got to thinking about the Christian life. When we register for the race (give our life over to Christ) we immediately get the “YOU ARE AN…” Here’s what we are: A child of God. An heir of God. A co-heir with Christ. A new creation. God’s workmanship. And the list goes on. Pretty neat titles if you ask me.
Unfortunately, here’s the down side of all this. The ironman finisher gets a t-shirt and a medal that says “Finisher” and never once after that do they question if they are an Ironman. We as Christians, however, question who we are. Often. I know I’m guilty and I start to wonder why. Maybe it’s too easy. Think about it. The athletes train endlessly and puts in a tremendous amount of effort to receive this title. We can do nothing to earn our title. (Grace) Only thing we have to do is accept the reward. Someone else did all the work for us. (Jesus) It’s against our nature to receive so much for nothing. At least nothing on our part. It cost Jesus everything for us to be a Finisher.
Then there’s the oatmeal. Peaches and Cream oatmeal to be exact. Sounds good if you like peaches but there’s only one problem… there’s no peaches in it! It’s apples with peach flavoring. Artificial peach flavor to boot! I found that hard to believe so I looked it up. Sure enough it’s true. Here’s the ingredient list for you to see for yourself.
WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED OATS, SUGAR, CREAMING AGENT (MALTODEXTRIN, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL**, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, WHEY, SODIUM CASEINATE, SUGAR, DIPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, ARTIFICIAL COLOR, SALT, SOY LECITHIN, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR), FLAVORED AND COLORED FRUIT PIECES (DEHYDRATED APPLES [TREATED WITH SODIUM SULFITE TO PROMOTE COLOR RETENTION], ARTIFICIAL PEACH FLAVOR, CITRIC ACID, ANNATTO COLOR), SALT, CALCIUM CARBONATE, GUAR GUM, OAT FLOUR, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, NIACINAMIDE*, REDUCED IRON, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE*, RIBOFLAVIN*, THIAMIN MONONITRATE*, FOLIC ACID*.
So again I start to question… am I living as Christ describes me or am I living as oatmeal; not the real deal. How about you? How do you live? Do you live as a child of God? An heir with Christ? A new creation? God’s workmanship? Or as an imitation?
As believers, let’s commit to living by what the Great Announcer says about us… “YOU ARE A CHILD OF THE ONE TRUE KING!”
I John 3:1
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation