May 02, 2017
“That is how I run, not being in any doubt as to my goal.” - 1 Corinthians 9:26

This chapter of 1 Corinthians in the NIV is headed “The Need for Self Discipline.” Paul is talking about approaching your faith with purpose and dedication. Being an athlete gives you a special insight into this. Nothing prepares your mind for training and exercise like athletics. If you don’t do it, your performance suffers. You can end up not just letting yourself down, but letting your team down. In that same way, Paul says, you have to dedicate yourself to training and exercise in your faith, always keeping your final goal in mind. While being an athlete makes the importance of practice crystal clear, any athletic goal pales in comparison to what we’re striving for as Christians.

How are you practicing self discipline in your sports life? How are you practicing it in your faith? Can you think of ways to combine them?

    2. “but those who hope in the Lord
   will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
   they will run and not grow weary,
   they will walk and not be faint.”
                                        -Isaiah 40:31

Is this promising you will never be physically tired in your life? No. It’s always important to look at the context of Bible verses, and a key theme in Isaiah 40 is the impermanence of man, and the permanence of God. We on our own are weak and will fall. With God, we will be renewed. Have you ever noticed when playing a game that you can be exhausted, you’re losing, you think you can’t keep going, but something happens to turn the game around and that hope gives you the strength to keep going.

Our time here is impermanent, but our time with God is forever. Knowing that we have that forever to look forward to can lift us up, renew our strength, and continue walking with God.

The next time you feel like you can’t keep going, in the game or in practice, think about how to combine your hope in the LORD with your hope in being the best you can be while on this earth.

        3. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart.” - Colossians 3:23

One of the greatest blessings God has given us is the variety of interests human beings have. Think about your friends and family. Almost everyone probably has a different thing they’re passionate about. God gives us that passion so we can more easily find joy in what we do. But there’s something more here. We are commanded that WHATEVER we do, we should put all our intention and care into that. By doing this, we are showing our love for others. Would you prefer that the person fixing your car or making your dinner at a restaurant or coaching you did it half-heartedly or wholeheartedly?

When we try our hardest in what we do, we show how much we love and respect our fellow human beings, who are all God’s creations. That being said, like everything, you’re not going to be able to do it perfectly right away! Or even after a little bit of time. Like in sports, the attitude of giving your all in whatever you do takes practice and dedication to get better and better at it. God knows when you’re trying, and that’s all He asks.

What can you try to do with all your heart today?