“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NLT
This passage is challenging for most Christians. We love the Lord, we really do. Our lives are whole because of God’s eternal love and person and goodness. So why is consistent training & discipline so difficult for us? In our spiritual life, physical life, and relational life?
Do you believe that every purposeful step makes a difference? Do you struggle with doubt, with a worry that you may just be shadowboxing? Why might accountability and encouragement within trusted community be critical here?
Paul’s last statement in this passage raises a legitimate concern for leaders. What is the danger in preaching what we, ourselves, do not faithfully practice?
What are a few things that you want to see growth in over the next 6 months? What realistic, achievable steps can you take to see disciplined victory in training those things? Take a moment or two, or maybe even the rest of the day to humbly ask the Lord for direction. Ask God, “Where do I need to grow, and what are a few simple steps I can take to be faithful?”
Father, Son, & Holy Spirit
Please help your children. We are so easily tired, our strength disappears so quickly.
But we know that, in you, there is strength for the weary and joy that energizes weak hearts.
Lord, we want to run your race with faithfulness and courage.
We thank you for every time you pick us up and carry us until we can run anew.
Never let us lose sight of the prize, keep our eyes ever on your wonder and majesty.
You are faithful and your promises are true. Help us grow strong in your love.
In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen. Amen. Amen.