In my last post, I wrote about how God created us to be awesome and live an awesome life. However, just because that is how we are created, that doesn’t mean that is how we are living. If you haven’t read it, I’d encourage you to check it out because this post will build on that idea. If God has created us to live this awesome life, how exactly do we accomplish that?
Paul, in 1 Corinthians 9, talks about how he did everything he could to spread the gospel. He knew God had called him to preach to the Gentiles and he was going to do everything he could to fulfill what God had created him for. In verse 26-27 Paul says, “So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 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.”
The first step to living the awesome life God has created us for is having purpose in every step. Paul compares it to shadowboxing. Shadowboing is literally boxing the air. You don’t have an opponent. You don’t even have a trainer helping. If you’ve never shadowboxed before, it can feel pretty foolish. You are just making up stuff as you go. You throw a punch when you feel like it and dodge imaginary punches from an imaginary opponent. There is no purpose in your steps. Paul says we can’t live like that. There must be purpose in our steps. We can’t just guess and make them up. Rather they must be in line with the vision that God has given us.
The next thing Paul tells us is that he trains and disciplines his body. He compares it to how an athlete trains. My sophomore year of high school I was on the junior varsity football team. Our games were on Thursday nights. After our first game our coach decided he wanted us to run sprints on Fridays. Typically Fridays were a day off for JV. He tried to encourage us about it saying it would only last 30 minutes (when football practices were usually at least 3 hours) and we would be able to wear gym clothes and not have to put on all the pads. Even with this news we were not very happy about having to come in on our day off and run sprints. But we since we didn’t really have a choice we did.
Every Friday during the season we ran sprints. As the weeks went by the sprints got easier and easier. I can’t say that I was ever excited about having to go run the sprints, but that year my team finished with a record of 9-1. The reason we won most of our games was because we were in better shape than the other team and didn’t get tired at the end of the game.
We all know the things we need to do to train our body spiritually, but are we doing them? I know I’m not always the greatest. In January I started a plan to read through the Bible in a year and I’m not even close to finishing it on time. Paul says he trains his body to do what it should. In order to live the awesome life that God has for us we have to train our body. We have to train it to prepare it for where God is going to take us. Without the training, we will just fall flat on our faces.
As I said in my last post, God created us to be awesome so that other people would see how awesome He is. Let’s live with purpose and training so that we can be all that God created us to be. In doing so, He will be glorified.
until next time…