I love my GPS sport’s watch. Like your phone or car GPS it can record your journey. So when I started my open water swim in the local lake I was interested in what my watch would tell me about my current training program.
As I swum through 1500m I took a glance with astonishment. My recorded time (sub 17min) was incredible. I was on fire! As I moved ahead in the water I was filled with confidence that I was swimming faster than ever before.
However, then I started to crunch the numbers and things were not adding up. I had dropped not seconds but minutes off my personal best. I am not a swimmer but I knew that my time would rank me in the world all-time list.
I had a mental dilemma: to believe my watch that I had miraculously become a world class swimmer or believe that I had a GPS malfunction. Was I a demi-god or still flesh and blood?
Swimming Australia never called, so, no prizes as to what the answer is.
Sport has a unique ability to speak into the rest of our lives and teach us powerful lessons. Reflecting on my sporting “success” drew some life lessons.
We are programmed with an amazing ability to cognitively restructure our thoughts to make ourselves look good. We can convince ourselves of our ability and why we are never at fault.
Studies show that when we survey a host of information we are actually searching for data that supports our own predetermined hypothesis. That is, that I am the best!
Think the folly of love that blinds someone of their partner’s faults (or their own). Think weapons of mass destruction where people see what they want to see. Think a professional cyclist justifying taking performance enhancing drugs.
At a deeper level it points to the problem we all have. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Roman church explained we all fall short of God’s perfect standard and convince ourselves we have no problem.
Whether that be the problems we have with our relationships with others, with our self or with ignoring God this problem (a.k.a. sin) is something we cannot justify away or cure ourselves.
Identity In Jesus
The GPS of our human condition is clear and it is not good. However, the good news is that Jesus came to give us a new heart and new mind. His world record swim time is credited to our name if we acknowledge Him and turn from our own arrogance.
The reality is we take on our true identity as the Creator’s own children, dearly loved. And this is achieved not through our own efforts or self-inflated egos but through Jesus’ own work.
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and Pastor
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover1.html