It is well known that competitive sports teach players to live self disciplined life styles, to consider others and put the team first, and to focus all of life on the goals of athletic achievement. These are all biblical values for Christian living.
No doubt this is why Paul so frequently used sports analogies to refer to the Christian walk.
Self discipline: Paul gives the example, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1Cor. 9:27).
Keeping your body under control is tough. During my hockey years I was required to eat a strict diet, to work out a certain number of times, to go to bed by a certain hour on game nights and so on. At training camp our fitness was tested, including measuring of strength, endurance, flexibility and body fat. Pressure was heavy to meet and improve on benchmarks.
Paul wants the believer to reflect on this kind of commitment and discipline when he says: “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.”(1Cor. 9:24-25).
How committed are you to disciplining your life for godliness? What benchmarks do you set for growth? How regularis your diet of Scripture? Do you meet with fellow believers to train together? Remover to run the race of faith with the drive of an Olympic athlete striving for gold.
Next post, The Christian Team.