C. J. Mahaney on Michael Phelps

C. J. Mahaney offers some wise reflections on Michael Phelps, marijuana, and rest for restless souls.

The photograph of Phelps reminds me of myself prior to conversion, a competitive swimmer (of slightly lesser skill), a sinner (of greater degree), held captive by sin, pursuing the fleeting pleasures of this world. And sadly, in my case, pursuing sin with passion. So what was Phelps searching for in that bong pipe? What emptiness in his soul was he trying to satisfy? …

This is what I find so striking: A man whose chest has been covered with gold medals, has achieved international fame, showered with awards, and blessed with an incomprehensible amount of money, still feels compelled to press his face to a bong.

It was Augustine who said that the soul is restless until it finds its rest in God. So true. Only God can satisfy the soul. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ provides forgiveness of sin, and therefore it is here in this gospel that we find rest for our restless souls.

Study the unflattering picture of Michael Phelps to be reminded of the deceitfulness of sin and the superficiality of fame and money. But also study the picture to be reminded of the message of Christ and him crucified for restless sinners like you, and me, and Michael Phelps.

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  1. Donna C. says:

    I myself am a sinner, yes its true!!! Having money does things to us.
    I agree with Augustine, my soul was restless until I found Jesus.
    I think we should be careful who we put in the “hero” category.

  2. Ray Fowler says:

    Donna – I agree. We all fall short of God’s glory.

  3. Stefan says:

    Where does it say that smoking marijuana is a sin? How do you know that Michael Phelps put that bong to his face because of some internal emptiness? Is pot a sin because it’s psychoactive? So is caffeine. Is drinking a cup of coffee a sin? Is it a sin because our government has made it illegal? Is it a sin to stand up to unjust, unwarranted laws? Didn’t Christ do just that?

  4. Ray Fowler says:

    Stefan – I would say smoking marijuana to get high is sinful for the same reason that drinking alcohol to get drunk is wrong. Although the Bible does not mention marijuana specifically, it does speak about drunkenness, and we can learn from one about the other. There are a number of passages in the Bible that talk about this, but I find Ephesians 5:15-18 especially helpful:

    “Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:15-18)

    I hope that helps. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

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