Summer 2024

Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional: Wednesday, December 2

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” — Psalm 23:5

A Pleasing Aroma

I was watching a track and field competition being held on a very hot day, and when the TV camera zeroed in on the leading competitor, perspiration was running down his face and dropping off his chin. The victory smile he flashed at the finish line indicated that the effort was worth it all.

A footnote in the Amplified Bible claims it was once customary in hot climates for athletes to anoint their entire bodies with oil to prevent excessive perspiration during a race. Mixed with perfume, it tended to invigorate and refresh those who were competing. Perhaps the idea originated in the Old Testament, where sprinkling a mixture of oil and perfume symbolized being set apart for God’s special purposes.

In this marathon called life, Paul exhorts Christians to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1), with the reminder that we are a “pleasing aroma of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:15). If we don’t allow the anointing Spirit of God to replenish our souls through prayer and Bible study, we run the risk of suffering spiritual dehydration, exhibiting neither grace nor love to those around us. On the other hand, if we are good “sports,” God “uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him” in every arena of life (2 Corinthians 2:14) and victory awaits.

This is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.

“In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” — 1 John 5:3-5

— Alma Barkman

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