Why Christians Must Watch Winter Olympics - DesiringGod Minister Explains

If you have a television and faith in the true Savior of the world, you can enjoy the Winter Olympics, which began in Sochi in Russia this week, with more substance and depth than anyone else, writes David Mathis, executive editor at desiringGod.org.

(Photo: Reuters/David Gray)Iceberg Skating Palace is shown on February 6, 2014 ahead of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Apostle Paul took Olympics – well-known even then – and taught the Christians to transpose them into a different level, and to see in the games a reality very different than everyone else is seeing, says Mathis, quoting founder and teacher of desiringGod.org, John Piper.

"When you see the athletes run, see another kind of running. When you see them boxing, see another kind of boxing. When you see them training and denying themselves, see another kind of training and self-denial. When you see them smiling with a gold medal around their neck, see another kind of prize," says Piper, of the Apostle's intention.

"Every time you turn the television set on, I want you to hear God talking to you through the games."

Mathis, an elder at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minn., in a blog post, goes on to say that the Games can help Christians see the grandeur of God.

"As big as the Olympics feel, as momentous as the gold-medal run may seem at the time, make the effort to pan out with the camera of your mind's eye to the aerial view. See the smallness of the arena compared to the city of Sochi, then dwarfed by all of Mother Russia, and only a speck compared to the globe. Then consider the smallness of our little terrestrial ball - infinitely tiny - against the massiveness of the universe, and that relativized by the grandeur and value of God."

The minister adds that the Olympics also points to the need for Christians to "fight the good fight of faith."

Olympic glory is for the young and the fittest, but the Christian "race" is for young and old, the healthiest and sickliest, he writes.

The Olympics can remind Christians of 1 Timothy 4:8, which states that "while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come."

"True saving faith, sustained and empowered by the Holy Spirit, perseveres through as many obstacles as any Olympian, and more."

The Winter Games in Sochi can also help Christians see the greatness of Jesus, Mathis adds. "Jesus is not just the fellow human of every world class athlete, but also their creator."

To conclude, Mathis once again quotes Piper as saying in his book, Jesus: Worthy of More Glory Than Moses: "Jesus is worthy of as much more glory than every gold medal winner of the Olympics as the builder of a house is worthy of more glory than the house."