No Aging Athletes in Heaven - The Warrior's Journey®

No Aging Athletes in Heaven

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

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“I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24) 

Paul the apostle considered the Christian life to be a race. In Acts 13:25 he spoke of John the Baptist as “completing his race.” John had a course to run, mapped out for him by God Almighty. In Galatians 2:2 Paul wrote that he compared the Gospel he preached with that of the apostles, to make sure that he was not “running in vain” (i.e. that he had not taken a wrong turn on his race). In Philippians 2:16 he admonished the disciples to persevere in their faith, lest Paul should have “run in vain” in his ministry among them. So faithful had Paul been in God’s race that, at the end of his life, he could say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race” (2 Timothy 4:7). 

Paul’s lengthiest description of the Christian life as a race in found in 2 Corinthians 9:24-27. There Paul commands the Corinthian believers to “run in such a way that you will win” (v.24). The Corinthians were allowing themselves to be diverted from their course by many distractions – sexual temptation, factions, pride, gluttony, and false doctrine. That is no way to run a race. Paul admonishes them to exercise self-control (v.25), to remain focused (v.26), and to make their bodies their slaves – i.e. to harness all their energy and resources for the single pursuit of winning (v.27).   

Earthly athletes exercise all this discipline, focus, and sacrifice to gain nothing but a perishable wreath. But spiritual athletes, who are faithful to the end, will gain an imperishable crown (v.25). Nor will these heavenly athletes be diminished when they reach the finish line. They won’t collapse in exhaustion. No, they’ll be at their optimum spiritual powers – just as Moses, when God took him from this life, was at his strongest (Deuteronomy 34:7). On earth, the heavenly athlete may appear as a frail shell of their youth. But the man inside is ten thousand times bigger than the man on the outside.   

And in heaven, the true nature of these heavenly athletes will be revealed. Those who have faithfully run God’s race will tower over the angels. Earthly athletes grow frail. Confined to their easy chairs, they can only look at their trophies and yearn for the distant glory days. But heavenly athletes will retain their optimum glory and power for eternity. They themselves will be the untarnished trophy. Their glorified state will testify to their faithfulness in God’s race and of His grace that preserved them. Therefore, let us run the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2). 


  • Do you know of any retired athletes who have tried to return to the game, only to realize they cannot cut it anymore? That they’re no longer fit to compete? 
  • How does this contrast with the spiritual athlete who faithfully serves God? 
  • Let nothing distract you or weigh you down. Faithfully run God’s race. 

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