This past weekend, I completed my 4th running event overall. It was 20+ degrees, with both snow and ice on the ground. Before that, I completed 3 events (2 5Ks, and 1 half-marathon). That half-marathon was my first serious run, and it was truly an amazing experience. I was surrounded by some of the most dedicated & focused runners. The course was challenging (lots of Hills), but very beautiful. I discovered parts of St Louis that I did not know existed!! I Finished The Race, & Crossed the Finish Line in a little over 3 hours, My PR!
Why Run? It started with a challenge, a gentle push, and a well place word of encouragement. I accepted the challenge and running has become one my favorite activities. Long distance running challenges me, and it stretches my faith! To Run, is to put my flesh under submission! Today’s study; “Running with Purpose…”
“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. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 ESV
Winning a race requires purpose and discipline. Paul uses this illustration to explain that the Christian life takes hard work, self-denial, and grueling preparation. As Christians, we are running toward our heavenly reward. The essential disciplines of prayer, Bible study, and worship equip us to run with vigor and stamina. Don’t merely observe from the grandstand, don’t just turn out to jog a couple of laps each morning. Train diligently- your spiritual progress depends upon it.
At times we must even give up something good in order to do what God wants. Each person’s special duties determine the discipline and denial that he or she must accept. Without a goal, discipline is nothing but self-punishment. With the goal of pleasing God, our denial seems like nothing compared to the eternal, imperishable reward that will be ours.
When Paul says he might be disqualified, he does not mean that he could lose his salvation but rather that he could lose his privilege of telling others about Christ. It is easy to tell others how to live and then not to take our own advice. We must be careful to practice what we preach. (Life Application Study Bible)