“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. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
– 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Discipline. Yuck. That doesn’t sound like fun at all. Sometimes we think of discipline at school, where someone is sent to the principal’s office. What is the purpose of that for? It’s to make a correction, so that a right action will come about.
Think about that with athletes. We exercise discipline in order to bring about a right action. So, we don’t gorge ourselves on chocolate cake all the time. We don’t stay up til 3 am in the morning and expect to be our best at the game the next day. We exercise because we are aiming at a goal – we want to win! We want to succeed at what we are doing. Many people don’t go out for sports because they don’t have the motivation to do the hard work. They don’t like sweating and would rather play video games or eat junk food all the time. They want to win without the hard work, and for them it’s just not worth it.
Of course, the Apostle Paul was making an analogy to athletics and the Christian life. The Christian life isn’t just a Sunday morning thing where we go to church and sing a few songs and sleep during the sermon and feel we’ve done our duty for the week. (ok, maybe not sleep, but play on your phone during the sermon?) We as Christians should discipline ourselves by what we say and what we do though out the week. You’ve met those people – they believe in God, but live as if God doesn’t exist? The Apostle Paul says that he watches what he says and does so that when he needs to give a witness, it will be accepted and not laughed at.
So, during this time we aren’t in school, here’s some things to think about. One, as an athlete, keep exercising and doing what you can to stay in shape. Don’t let this time make you weaker. Two, as a Christian, see what areas you need to bring under control so people will listen to what you have to say about God. Three, as a student, do what lessons the teachers give you on-line and on time. That’s a simple way you can show others that being disciplined and doing your best is a part of the Christian life. Don’t panic during this time, and don’t fear. Remember, God is in control. Did this virus surprise Him? Totally not. Who is bigger – this virus or God? God is! So let that be our motivator for all we do, even when it seems those around us are falling apart!
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