In 1976, Nadia Comaneci’s perfect score in gymnastics stunned the world. What spiritual lesson can we draw from this?
On July 18, 1976, fifteen-year-old Nadia Comaneci was the star of the Montreal, Quebec, Olympics when she became the first gymnast in Olympic history to earn a perfect score of ten. After her performance on the uneven parallel bars, the Romanian athlete was awarded six more perfect scores in different events. Electronic scoreboards of the day were designed to display a maximum score of 9.99, so many pictures of Nadia show the scoreboard reading 1.00.
Comaneci retired after the 1980 Olympics and the 1981 World Student Games. She defected to the United States in 1989 and later married American Olympic medalist Bart Conner. Today the couple performs together in gymnastics exhibitions and offers clinics.
Jesus said that his followers are to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48). With God’s absolute holiness as the standard, how can we ever achieve perfection? Through the power of the Holy Spirit, God works his righteousness into our lives. As we exercise our will to make godly choices, practice spiritual disciplines, and imitate Jesus’ life of obedience, we gradually become transformed into his image.
We will never achieve total perfection while we are on the earth. After thirty years of knowing Christ, Paul had accomplished tremendous things. Yet he acknowledged that he had not yet reached perfection:
”I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.” (Philippians 3:12, NLT Bible)
Someday our sanctification process will be finished. In the meantime, our performance may not always merit perfect marks, but we can be assured that we will “nail the landing.”
How are you moving toward holiness in your life?
Thankfully God’s grace makes up for our imperfections, even as we attempt to grow in godliness.
Want to watch footage of Nadia’s groundbreaking performances?
© Dianne Neal Matthews (www.DianneNealMatthews.com). Dianne is a freelance writer and the author of four daily devotional books. This article is adapted from her book, The One Year on This Day (Tyndale House).