We’ve got your daily encouragement, written by Travis Pate.
1 Corinthians 9:24-25
24 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. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
What would you do if you knew that you were going to run a 400m race at the end of the month and that winner would receive $1 million? Would you show up on race day and see what happens? Of course not! Paul recognized that athletes of the time had discipline to train and exercise self-control in order to win their race.
For the runner, that might mean getting a coach and working on improving your form. You might research what food to eat to fuel your run properly and start working on some interval runs to improve your run times. Most of us can relate to this because we do similar things each day in CrossFit. We focus on the things that we can control and exercise some self-discipline so that we can see improvements in our strength and fitness levels.
The struggle we face is with a bigger question. If we were to put all of this time and energy into training for something that, in light of eternity is meaningless, how much more should we exercise self-control and discipline in our spiritual walk which leads us to eternity? Paul tells his protege, Timothy, that physical training has value for some things but spiritual training has value for all things.
If I were to ask you, “What is your most important relationship?”, what would you say? And if I were to ask, “How much time do you give to your relationship to God versus the time you spend on your physical training?”, what would you say? The reality is that what we say and what is true don’t necessarily line up for most of us. If we are honest with ourselves, what we call our most important relationship doesn’t actually appear to be important at all when we take an inventory of our time and energy.
So what do we do to fix this problem? Easy enough, we apply the same principles from physical training to our spiritual life. We show up each day. We put in some time and energy to growth by reading the Bible, participating in a church or Bible study, and surround ourselves with like-minded people. We seek out a coach or mentor if we need help. And by exercising self-discipline in our spiritual life, we experience growth!
God, please forgive us for getting things backwards most of the time. We put the things of least importance in the place of the things that are most important. Please help me to understand which is which, and to start exercising self-discipline in my spiritual life to grow in my relationship with you. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Be honest with yourself with the questions that have been asked above? If your spiritual life is not where it should be, what steps do you need to do to improve? Pick one thing this week that you can do to move yourself towards growth in your spiritual life and put it into practice.
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