1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (New Living Translation)
24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!
25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
I just returned from the TAPPS High School Track and Field State Championships. It was amazing to see the young men and woman working so hard as they competed to win. The atheletes stood out as each one showed great character and sportsmanship during the competition.
The State Championships were the culmination of local relays, and district and regional events, where only the best in each event qualified to move-up to the next level of competition. All the hard work and best efforts for the year came down to competing in one final race in each event category, and by the end of the day there were those who received awards, but all of those who competed at the state level were winners today.
We can learn alot from the young atheletes when it comes to running the Christian race of life. Their effort took alot of daily hard work, building stamina, endurance and perseverance to help them compete. Much of this work was not very fun or pleasant, but to obtain the experience necessary to qualify and reach the state competition, they had to do the work.
The same needs to happen in our Christian lives. Being a Spirit-filled Christian, that makes an impact for Jesus in the world takes alot of hard work. It takes spending concentrated effort daily studying God's word, and building the stamina, endurance and perseverance required to be a strong disciple. It also requires us to grow, that we only gain through the experience of helping others and showing them the love and saving knowledge of Jesus as Lord and Savior.
I was most impressed that win or lose, each of these young men and woman gave it their best effort. They all ran and competed to win. We too need to run with perseverance the race that God has given us, giving it our best with the help of the Holy Spirit, and striving to win the prize of eternal life that God has set before us.