Session 19

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?

19 of 35

Devotionals From This Study

to Discover More

Session 1

Do we all have spiritual gifts?

If we’re willing to admit it, most of us who follow Jesus have wondered if we have a spiritual gift. Just like any other type of compari...

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Session 2

What it means to be united

Let’s be honest: the Church isn’t exactly famous for its unity. We quarrel over worship styles, specific preachers, and which Bible ...

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Session 3

The one time boasting is OK

When we think of who we were before Jesus, can’t help boasting about what He has done. Jesus rescued us. He took us out of the muck and m...

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Session 4

Is it OK to question God?

These days, everyone is preaching something. For some, the perfect meal is a hamburger and fries. Others will give you a 10-point dissert...

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Session 5

What happens when the church comes together

Ever found yourself on the receiving end of one of these comments: “You saw 13 people get baptized last weekend! That’s great. Did I tel...

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Session 6

The church is bigger than a building

God is in the building business. He’s not so concerned about specific architecture styles or floor plans, but about constructi...

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Session 7

What your silent judgment says about you

There are many examples in our daily lives of ways we judge others. Maybe we have a conviction against alcohol, but we look down on other...

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Session 8

Do you do what you say you believe?

Growing up, it was common to hear kids say, “If you are going to talk the talk, you better be able to walk the walk.” On the...

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Session 9

What happens when sin goes unaddressed

God created the church to serve as light to the world. The church should be a place where love is abundant, God’s truth is displaye...

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Session 10

How to know when popular opinion is wrong

On TV, opinion-givers comment on other opinion-givers and call it news. Often, information’s value is determined by its effect on r...

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Session 11

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should

In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Paul says we are not our own. We were bought at a price. Having received our bodies as a gift from God, we are ...

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Session 12

God cares about your sex life

Watch any sitcom featuring a married couple talking about sex, and you will hear of husbands wanting sex, but not getting it, or wives wi...

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Session 13

God, please save my spouse

Differing beliefs can create tension in a marriage. For example, you might believe Clemson is the better university, while your spouse bl...

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Session 14

Change how you see instead of what you see

In a world full of Photoshop and instant gratification, it’s easy to buy the lie that if we don’t like something, we can and ...

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Session 15

Don’t tie the knot until

When we’re single, we think marriage will fix our problems. But could it just be the idea of marriage we love? Dreaming together is...

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Session 16

Why can’t I do what I want?

When we discuss hot button issues today, “food sacrificed to idols” is not at the top of our list. But in the early church in...

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Session 17

Why give time and money to the church?

It’s easy to hide in a big church. When hiding we may not fully appreciate the consequences of failing to fulfill our commitment to...

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Session 18

Do I have anything to offer?

Each of us has a unique ability. For instance, some are blessed with the ability to write. And within the field of writing, a special &ld...

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Session 19

Are you training to win?

You read your Bible, attend church, tithe, serve, pray and passionately love Jesus. You do all the right things and you’re living t...

Read Devotional

Session 20

Where to turn when life is more than you can bear

Ever heard the saying "God won't put more on you than you can handle"? If you’ve been in a situation where someone told you thi...

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Session 21

What are you going to chase today?

When we get married, we say yes to fully giving our lives to our spouses. There is no going back to our old life. We can’t have one...

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Session 22

The greatest responsiblity we have as Christians

Life changes when we receive Jesus as our Savior. When we surrender our lives to Jesus, we receive forgiveness, eternal life, and freedom...

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Session 23

Why submit to my husband?

Paul instructs the church at Corinth on what’s proper in a worship service, specific to their culture — i.e. women wearing a ...

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Session 24

Why searching your heart is a helpful practice for every day

If your smartphone’s autocorrect changes "I love you" into "I loathe you," it might lead to a rough evening for you and your signif...

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Session 25

You were made for this

God gives us the gifts of the Spirit to fulfill the purpose of the church — reaching people far from God and teaching them how to f...

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Session 26

Does church even need me?

Every Sunday, you have a choice. You can go to church, or you can take advantage of the last day of the weekend by sleeping in and relaxi...

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Session 27

Are you serving with the right motivation?

Walking into NewSpring, you are greeted by several people. Entering the auditorium, you receive a pen and notes, then are helped to a sea...

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Session 28

How to go from good to better to best

Seek the gifts that build up the church. That was Paul's answer to believers who wanted to see the Holy Spirit in their lives. Prayin...

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Session 29

Does structure limit the Holy Spirit?

When we wake up in the mornings, we do certain things to start our day.  When we go to sleep at night, we have another routine to he...

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Session 30

Are you going through the motions?

It’s easy to live life just going through the motions. We have all experienced moments when we drive to the grocery store, pick the...

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Session 31

Why does an empty tomb matter?

Miracles can be one of the difficult parts of Scripture to believe. The supernatural is rare, at times confusing, and by our understandin...

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Session 32

You are who you hang around

“You are known by the company you keep.” How many times have we heard that old saying? As a teenager, that might have sounde...

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Session 33

How to embrace the unknown

We hate the unknown. Everyone has to live with it, and we all have different ways of handling it. Most of us would not hand a car salesm...

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Session 34

You don’t need to fear death

What would you do for Jesus if you knew you couldn’t fail? Would you travel somewhere dangerous to spread the Gospel? Start that m...

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Session 35

How can I make a difference in the world?

Occasionally, in the midst of all the media’s doom and gloom, we hear a heartwarming story about radical love and generosity that touches...

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