Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. (NKJV) – 1 Corinthian 9:24
The Christian walk is commonly referred to as the Christian race and in a race we know that there are many contestants, 1 winner and 1 prize. We also would agree that some runners start preparing for the race years before the actual race.
In the Christian race we aren’t running against each other or anyone in particular, we are running against our flesh and the traps of this world that seek to catch up with us and ensure we don’t make it the finish line which is heaven and perfection with God. Our fight of faith isn’t a physical one but a constant fight against our flesh to bring it into obedience with the word and will of God. This Christian race is constant and doesn’t end until we make it to heaven, so we mustn’t get tired on the way.
To effectively run our Christian race, a high level of discipline is required from us each and every day.
And every man who takes part in the sports has self-control in all things. Now they do it to get a crown which is of this world, but we for an eternal crown. (BBE) – 1 Corinthians 9:25
We have to intentionally live our lives to please God and constantly subdue our flesh. We can’t do what everyone is doing and expect to get a different result. Your flesh won’t just be nice and surrender to you, you won’t feel like doing the right things, your emotions will push against you and attempt to deceive you as much as it can. But just like an athlete who starts training for the Olympics; in the beginning it would be hard but as you persist in it, you become changed into the image of what whom you are looking at and chasing after.
Therefore, if you keep looking and fixing your eyes and hearts on things that don’t edify, improve or grow you in any way like social media, unhealthy series, TV shows and music; you will unconsciously be changed into that image. That’s why you find yourself comparing yourself to what you have seen on social media or talking/dressing like something/someone you saw in a movie or series or show. But if you spend that extra time fixing your eyes and mind on the things of God, it becomes easier and you are changed more and more into his image and that’s how you attain perfection.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:8 (NASB)
Discipline is focused attention and effort. So whatever you focus your attention on and make the effort to do you are disciplining yourself in.
An athlete disciplines themselves in 2 key areas;
- Food – an athlete doesn’t eat just anything, their meals are planned and structured so as to work towards their end goal. As Christians we can’t just feed our spirits with anything. ‘Man doesn’t live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God’. We must discipline and control our appetite through fasting. Fasting can be from food, technology, social media, excessive talking and even people; whatever it is that seems to easily trip you up, fast from it. If you find that you spend more time on social media or doing your makeup or gossiping and it takes all of your attention and distracts you from God, you need to fast from it.
- Exercise – what makes an athlete is their ability to subject their bodies to intense pressure and mold it to fit their purpose. Our exercise as Christians is in the word of God and fellowship with him. We must apply ourselves intentionally to studying, reading, memorizing and teaching the word of God. We must deliberately make time out to stay in God’s presence, we must do it intentionally because it won’t just happen even if we wished or prayed about it. We must create time specially for it, even if that means reducing gist or TV time, sleeping early so you wake up early, taking 10 minutes of lunch break to read 2 chapters of the bible, utilizing time in traffic to listen to a sermon etc.
Whatever it takes we must not allow our flesh win the race!
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: 26-27
Stop wearing the Christian Jersey and standing on the side-lines. Get in the game! And remember, you can do all things, through Christ who has already won the victory for you, all you need to do is step out in faith and he would carry you through.
God Bless You.