This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden
All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches. 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. —1 Corinthians 9:25-27 This time of year consumers are inundated with advertisements to lose weight, quit smoking, to finish school and more. Companies do what they can to cash in on a tradition called "New Year's Resolutions." It is common during the first weeks of a new year to be asked what your resolution is, and then sometime in February to be asked if you've been able to keep it. In early January, the weight machines and cardio areas of fitness clubs everywhere are filled with people who are still hoping to lose those last 5 pounds or get into better health. However, the busyness won't last long. By the end of February or beginning of March, the annual fitness fad dies, and the crowd thins out as the unmotivated drop off.
Here's a challenge for you. Don't refer to your spiritual commitments as "New Year's Resolutions". Generally, people tend not to keep them. An athlete works out each day and slowly builds muscle, stamina and endurance as they train over the long haul. Paul, in his letter to the Christians in Corinth, tells them that they must discipline themselves like athletes. The Christian walk requires hard work, self-denial and difficult preparation. You are called to be on the field, not merely a spectator. Christians are called to be disciplined in prayer, reading the Bible, and worship. It is these areas that will help you live with purpose and stamina.
Resolve to be disciplined each day by spending time in God's word and praying so that you can build your spiritual muscles.
1. Have there been periods in your life where you have consistent times with God? Think about the effect that had on your spiritual walk.
2. Athletes often make sacrifices for their training. What is something you can give up in order to make more room for God in your life?