Pondering the Passages: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

This Week’s Passage and Memory Verse (in red): 24 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 not 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.

I’m gonna go ahead and admit it – I am not in very good shape right now. I’m not in bad shape. but I’m not in good shape. It hasn’t been all that long thought since I was in very good shape. Not too long ago I competed in a Sprint Triathlon. I was biking 12-20 miles a week, swimming about 2 miles a week, and running several miles a week. That was 2007. Then in 2008 I completed a rigorous 3 month fitness program called P90X. I was pretty studly for a 50 year old guy if I do say so myself. As I think back I’m pretty amazed that I did both of those. And as I think back there are a couple of reasons why I was able to do so.

1) I had a goal in front of me that provided motivation –  There was an end date and there was a reward for seeing both fitness programs through to the end. The same can be said for our faith. There is an end date and a reward. We know that Jesus is going to return. We know that there will be rewards in heaven. What we don’t know is how far away the end is. I think this negates the motivation factor for many of us. We need a tangible, attainable goal to keep in front of us. So I would suggest creating some tangible, attainable goals that will get you a little bit closer to the big goal. Here are a couple of mine that I presently have: a) Ponder one passage a week for a year and blog about it (this one you are familiar with); b) Memorize Ephesians 1 by June of 2012. I have several others that I’m hoping to add that have to do with developing a healthier prayer life and reading great books – just not implemented yet.

2) I had a team of guys that I trained alongside to encourage me – in both instances there were often times when I just did not feel like training but because I was expected to be at the park for a bike ride or expected to be in The Loft for a workout I showed up. The same is true spiritually. We need the accountability and encouragement of our faith comrades to keep pursuing the goals that we have set for ourselves. Otherwise, more often than not they will often fall by the wayside. This is certainly true for the 2 I mentioned for me above. In the case of “a”, knowing that I have a blog audience (however small it may be) has kept me pondering now for 10 months. And the encouragement I get along the way certainly helps. This past Sunday, a friend mentioned how much they enjoyed my post on Mark 12 last week. A little bit of encouragement goes a long way to motivate me to keep pressing forward. For “b”, the fact that a number of others in our student ministry are also memorizing Ephesians 1 keeps me working on the verses each week. I know that at any time they may ask me to say the verses that I am also holding them accountable for.

So I guess it’s time to get in shape. Both physically and spiritually – lest I run like a man running aimlessly. And I’ll admit too that I would like one of them thar prizes that Paul talks about.

So how is your training going? If you want, let me know what you are doing to stay fit and i will try to encourage you along the way to keep at it. And you can do the same for me.

I’m just sayin’!

Next Week’s Passage: Ephesians 3:14-21
Next Week’s Memory Verse: Ephesians 3:20-21

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