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"Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing."

Vince Lombardi

The human body

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own" (1 Corinthians 6:19).

It would be impossible to play sport if you did not have a body! The human body is important. It is part of God's creation. The human body has been further dignified by the incarnation, when God became man and took flesh and blood. The theory of dualism - that the spirit is good and the body bad - finds no support in the Bible.

Understanding this should have a profound influence on how we view our bodies and on how we use them. A fit, trained body can and should bring glory to God. Equally we cannot deny that there have been many abuses of the body in the name of sport. Drugs, doping, playing through serious injury have left many retired athletes physically wrecked. Others have seen their career ended by a reckless tackle by an opponent.

Paul drew a parallel between the athlete and the Christian in 1 Corinthians. "I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize" 1 Corinthians 9:24. The 100 metres gold medal at the Olympics is decided in less than 10 seconds. But how many hours of "beating their bodies" will the medallists have spent in the previous 4 years, how much iron pumped, how many reps completed in the gym?

As sportspeople we must thank God for our body. We are obliged to work hard to get it in shape. We must also remember that it is the temple of the Holy Spirit and keep that in focus and our sport in perspective.

Stuart Weir

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