“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after my preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9: 24-27
Paul talks about the Christian life being compared to a great athlete. When you think of great athletes: who would come to mind? Who is the goat? Basketball is it Michael Jordan or Lebron James? Football is it Joe Montana, Peyton Manning or Tom Brady? We can discuss great athletes in sports all day long.
But what makes them great is what we can learn to apply to our spiritual lives. What makes someone a great athlete are these qualities: focused on the goal of getting better, commitment to the sport, practice, consistency, sacrifice, training, and developing to be the best you can be in life.
If it takes that to be great in a sport, that is what we need to bring into our spiritual life. We can not just go through the motions on Sunday and think we are going to be a great Christian.
Paul tells us: Run to win the race, not just go out to to run. If you are going to be a winner it takes the right discipline, training, diet and hours and hours of running. We need to make it our desire to win in our spiritual lives.
Paul tells us: we need self-control to win. Great athletes are committed not just in the game but every day of the year. There is no off season as an athlete. Training happens all year long? This is the same way in the spiritual life. We do not just show up to church and feel like we are going to win in our spiritual life.
Paul tells us that if we are going to be a spiritual winner then we must follow the rules. You can not cheat and be a winner. You live life according to God’s Rules the Word of God, at all times.
This is the time that many need to get back into running this spiritual life to win over the Satan, sin and self!
Jesus, help me to run this Spiritual life to win and to finish this race to win the prize. What is the prize? “To hear You say: “Well done you good and faithful servant...”