Wednesday, March 4, 2009

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD...basic training

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD is a post once a week designated to sharing my thoughts of a current personal study that I am doing. Currently, I am studying ways that I can leave a legacy, and leave a spiritual impact for those in my world. Thank you for joining me on this journey this week!

1 CORINTHIANS 9:24-27 "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. (25) Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. (26) Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. (27) No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."

So many times we put well known athletes up on pedestals. We idolize the greatness that they have achieved. We watch as they cross the finish line, or win the Superbowl or score the best game of their career. We rejoice in their triumph. However, we seldom recognize the hard work it took to get them to this point.

The Apostle Paul must have been a fan of sports or at least familiar with the hard work that goes into developing a great game. Several times, he uses this sports imagery in his writings.

2 Timothy 4:7 "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race."

In a race, only one person or one team gets the prize. Nobody remembers who came in second or certainly not last place.

Have you ever been at a track meet?
I used to enjoy attending these when my boys were younger and one of my boys ran track. Something that always interested me was the stamina that it took to continue in the race when you are bringing up the rear. When the team is jumping hurdles, seldom do you notice or follow the one that is in the back knocking over every single hurdle, instead your eyes are on the one in the front who is sailing over each hurdle and seemingly the winner.

But isn't the winner the one who even in times of difficulty, when the hurdles are hard to master, still perseveres and fights all the way to the finish line?

Paul is suggesting that the "prize" is an eternal one.
Running the race is life.

The prize is hearing those words at the end of our race..."well job My good and faithful servant". To continue in the race, the Christian must develop spiritual discipline. Just like the hurdle jumper must discipline himself and train, we also must be disciplined and train ourselves to stay in the game!

Last week, in YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers the following question: "What as a teen required you to be disciplined or took practice?" The top 3 responses were:

1. 50% polled said that they needed discipline to complete homework.
2. 21% voted and said they had to practice for dancing or cheerleading.
3. 2% of those voting said that it took practice to play a musical instrument.

There are standard rules of training if we are to succeed.
  • In order to do well in school - we discipline ourselves to study.
  • To master a musical instrument, we must practice.
  • In order to be a good athlete, we must train and do the hard prep work such as lifting weights, stretching and exercising.
Nothing comes easy without preparation and hard work.

In order to finish this race (spiritually) we must condition ourselves and the only way we can do that it is by regularly exercising....

Discipline yourself to have a regular time of prayer. Not only letting your requests be known but also a time to "listen" for God's leading. "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10)

In addition to reading scripture daily, be in the habit of reading Christian books or using a daily devotional. Reading Christian blogs such as this one is also a great source of encouragement.

Hebrews 10:25 suggests that we will receive encouragement from other Christians by meeting together. Corporate worship is not only a time to bring forth praise to God but to encourage one another.

Our church just finished a 21 day DANIEL FAST, fasting is a discipline that will allow us to submit our physical impulses to God. God can speak very loudly to us when we purify our bodies before Him.

Isn't it tough to be disciplined? For some time now I have been talking about going to the track, but I don't. I know people who have talked about quitting smoking for some time, but they don't. The hardest step to take in a race is the first step.



YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL: There is a new poll for you to vote in. It is about friends...find it on the side bar of this blog and VOTE! Your opinion really does matter!


Laura said...

I had to stop by and read your post since you since you made that comment on mine. Great post! Yes, it's funny how we were both writing similar things!
The family is doing well. Kevin gets home about 1:00 on Friday and we are so excited! Thank you for your prayers.

LauraLee Shaw said...

Many great insights here, Laurie. You are a gifted teacher.

Joyfull said...

Awesome and encouraging! It is so easy to lose focus that we are to be diligent and purposeful in all that we do. This is a fantastic reminder today!

Mel said...

Discipline is a habit I think...and you are correct the first step is the hardest!!