Athletes and Artists

You are supposed to be both.

For the masterpiece of your life to be fully unveiled, it will require both the disciplined striving of an athlete and the detailed touch of an artist.

In Acts 24:16, the Apostle Paul declared, “I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” The word “strive” comes from a Greek origin that means: 1) to adorn as an artist, and 2) to exercise or strive as an athlete.

The Christian life requires the merging of both definitions.

You are not just an athlete; the Christian life requires more than the rigorous pursuit of a workout regimen. And you are not just an artist; you need something more than the creative expressions of your gifts, talents, and personality.

You are an athletic artist, an artistic athlete. It is right foot left foot, left foot right foot. Athlete-artist. Artist-athlete.

Athletes without art are mere machines, and artists without athletic discipline are too unstructured. Our challenge is to hold these opposites in tension while recognizing that they are not opposites; they are flipsides of the same coin.

In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Paul urges us to exert an Olympic caliber of effort and self-discipline in the pursuit of our calling in Christ, whereas, in Ephesians 2:10, he said that we are God’s “workmanship” literally translated, poetry. You are a poem that God is writing.

Coach John Wooden famously said, “Make each day your masterpiece.” However, that doesn’t happen through competition alone. Nor does it happen by simply giving vent to our more artistic side. Whether we naturally gravitate toward the athletic or the artistic, we must merge their distinctives into one unified, powerful life.

The Christian life calls us to be athletes and artists, competitors and philosophers, warriors and poets. This combination strengthens us, blesses others, and brings glory to the God who made us.

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