by Pastor Mark Jordan
“You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-2, MSG)
This week we’re exploring how you can Hero Up! for Jesus. Today we continue that idea as we consider how important training is for our heroic journey.
Paul likened the preparation necessary to get into the proverbial trenches with the training elite athletes endure to be at their best. In an Olympic year, I imagine stories of such strenuous training and sacrifice are still fresh in your mind. Paul says we need to have discipline like an elite athlete, while recognizing the prize for which we run is eternal in nature.
What kind of discipline might he be referring to? It’s all-encompassing. It requires hard work, diligent rest, careful attention to what you put into your body, and an intense focus on your goal. Paul references sloppy living and then goes on to say he dedicated his life to staying alert and keeping in top condition. We all need to heed this advice, and maintain the discipline required for the arena of eternity.
What lapses in discipline plague you? Laziness? Consumption? Distractions? There are as many different ones as people in the world. Still, the call is to remember why we work, which is to lead others into a God-saved life. May you spend some time in prayer today working on your focus by being honest with your distractions, and committing — or re-committing — yourself for the discipline required for the arena of eternity.
Prayer: Dear Lord, please forgive me for the things that distract me from the focus I need in you. Help me to commit my life to disciplined living so I may not miss the work you are doing in and through me. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.