08 Jan Finish The Race
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 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 9:24-27
Could you imagine having to start a race over and over and over again because you kept quitting? Many of us have been there before in our personal life. We find an area that needs improvement or an old habit that needs to be broken, but when we get to a point in the repairing process, that seems extremely difficult, we cave in and indulge in the one thing we have been trying to break free from. The problem is not that we cannot break or surpass what we are trying to improve, but because we lack self-discipline.
When self-discipline is put into motion it is like building a muscle that has never been used in extreme situations. Before an athlete can win a game or a race, he must first train his muscles so that he can perform at his highest potential. We too must take on the attitude of an athlete and train our spiritual muscles, so that we too may finish the race.
The Life Application Study Bible (New International Version) provides a great outline to help us build self-discipline, and no longer be a slave to our lack of it:
- The Overall Agenda: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 tells us that to gain the reward we must first discipline our body and run straight to our goal.
- How to prepare for the race: Ephesians 6:10-20 tells us that we must put on the full armor of God and pray on all occasions.
- When we reach the breaking point: Galatians 6:7-10 tells us that we must not become weary in doing well, we must not give up, and we must not forget about the people around us who are also running the race.
- Why we must continue to press on: Philippians 3:12-14 tells us that we must keep our eyes on the prize and continue to press toward the day when we will be all God wants us to be.
- Encouragement when we feel like we don’t see the finish line: 2 Timothy 2:1-13 tells us that we must pass on the knowledge of what we know to others, so that they too may pass on the same encouragement; and to be strong in Christ’s grace even when our faith is faltering.
Even though building self-discipline takes a lot of work it is worth it. We must “strike a mighty blow” to our selfish desires and retrain ourselves to acquire the “natural appetites towards God’s purposes.”