Sunday, February 12, 2017

Running to Win the Prize

Today's Reading:
2 Samuel 23:24-24:25
1 Corinthians 9:19-10:13
Psalm 89:14-18
 
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Focus Verses: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
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.

Insight:
Paul uses the metaphor of running a race to describe the Christian life of discipleship, holiness, and mission. The Christian life has a goal, and it requires effort, training, and self-control. With this in mind, Paul says that he runs with: 1. Direction - He is not aimless; 2. Discipline - He exercises control over his body and his actions; 3. Diligence - He is in the race for the long run and his eye is on the prize at the finish line.

Response and Action:
Christ has called me to a life of discipleship--serving and honoring God, becoming more like Jesus, and sharing in the work and mission of Jesus. This Christian life will require no less focus, effort, training, and self-control than that of a runner who is competing to win a race.

I must keep my purpose before me at all times (direction). I must be very intentional and make every effort to establish patterns and practices in my life that move me toward my goals (discipline). I must be persistent and perseverant. I will keep my eye on the finish line, realizing that my goals are lifetime goals (diligence).

O God, help me to run my life's race with direction, discipline, and diligence. Show me the ways I should go through your word and by your Spirit. By your grace and power, help me to live with discipline and self-control. Help me to do the things that help me grow stronger in Christ. Uphold me and encourage me that I might be faithful and diligent as I follow Jesus all the days of my life. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses: Hebrews 12:1 
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Resources: 
The Spirit of the Disciplines
by Dallas Willard

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