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Chariots of Fire

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes engages coaches and athletes to grow in their faith and sport.

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Chariots of Fire


Verses to read: Daniel 3:1 and 13-18

My favorite movie is “Chariots of Fire,” based on a true story. The film’s main character is Eric Liddell—a missionary to China and a great man of God. Eric Liddle was also a phenomenal runner who entered the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris. He was known among his competitors as the man to beat. With his high Christian standards, Eric provided a wonderful contrast to the other runners who cared only about winning.

When Eric learned that he was scheduled to run on a Sunday, he was forced to make a difficult choice. Should he run in the race, or withdraw in honor of the Lord’s Day? The decision to withdraw would have meant letting down his country and his teammates. Not only that, but he had spent long hours in rigorous training. He desired to run and compete with the greatest athletes in the world, but honoring God was more important to him. When Eric announced his decision not to run on Sunday, he was brought before the Olympic Committee and a member of British royalty. These gentlemen put the pressure on and tried to make him change his mind. Despite the intense questioning, Eric held his ground. In the end, a solution was worked out which allowed him to compete on a different day. God was glorified as newspapers around the world carried the story of the Olympic runner who chose to honor God above all else.

When I’m faced with difficult decisions, I often read Daniel chapter 3. When King Nebuchadnezzar forced his subjects to worship a golden idol, Daniel’s friends—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—took a life-threatening stand for God. Knowing that they would be thrown into a furnace for their disobedience, they chose to obey God rather than man and stood their ground as worshippers of God alone. Their stand is such a testimony of courage.

We will probably never face the threat of a fiery furnace. But God does allow us to encounter situations that require us to make tough choices. These situations test our faith, build character, and—when we make the right choice—honor God. Like Daniel’s friend, Eric Liddell took a difficult stand. As a result, God honored him and God was glorified. When trials come, ask God for the power to stand firm and trust Him for the outcome.

  1. Has your faith prompted you to make difficult choices?

  2. What are your fiery furnaces?

  3. When have you seen God’s deliverance?

  4. How can you encourage your staff and players with the passage from Daniel?

    Extra Bible reading: Romans 12: 2-3 and Psalm 25: 4-5