It's tough to keep it inside the lines. Even so, there are many who hone the skills and master the court or field. These are the winners, the champions, the heros. But how often do we find that these athletic experts are often miserable outside the arena. Their skills are limited in scope, and their discipline is short-lived. Their muscular forms are betrayed by shrunken souls in need of a faith that strives and perseveres.
Hebrews 12 shows us that the real contest is not confined to a field. The race that is run is not on a track, and one does not retire one Coach as he moves to the next level. The life of faith is lived on all surfaces, and the tests of faith come one after another in many forms that first try the body, then the mind, and the soul, and the heart, and the will. The struggling saint finds no finish line in this life, and celebrations over temporary successes are often more signs of pride than maturity.
So Christian, don't be misled. Your greatest feats may be accomplished on your knees in helplessness rather than with the strength of arms or legs. Your toughest tests will not be in front of a crowd, but instead when no one is looking. Your greatest glory is not praise for self, but rather glory to God, and you find yourself eclipsed in service and suffering.