Are you training to win?
From 1 Corinthians: A 35-Day Devotional
You read your Bible, attend church, tithe, serve, pray and passionately love Jesus. You do all the right things and you’re living the Christian life, except for maybe that one little thing. We all have one. It’s the thing that completes the phrase, “I have no self-control when it comes to …”
Your one little thing might be managing money, handling conflict, dealing with temptation, or being patient and waiting on God.
In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Paul emphasizes the importance of self-discipline in a Christ-filled life by comparing it to the mindset of a serious athlete. How might an athletic training program look when it’s applied to our one thing?
Serious athletes develop their training programs using instructions from reputable leaders in the field. Our training programs are based on instructions from the only leader in the field, Jesus Christ.
The Bible provides wisdom and encouragement for every challenge. For example, a Bible search about developing patience might lead us to Scriptures teaching us to be still, listen to God, hold our tongues, have faith, and reflect on blessings. Like an athletic training program, a spiritual training program develops many skills that we can apply to other areas of our Christian life.
Training is hard work, and we don’t always get it right. But, Paul explains his purpose for training, “No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Runners push themselves to their limits giving their best effort to get the prize. When we give our best effort, and keep fighting to follow Jesus in every area of our lives, we experience His joy in this life, and we will hear Him say “well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21) when we get to heaven.
- How do you typically respond when faced with your “one little thing”?
- How would you like to see yourself respond when faced with this challenge?
- What is one step you need to take today to begin facing it with the disciplined mindset of an athlete?