All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 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.
1 Corinthians 9:25-27
Paul connects preaching the gospel to how athletes train to win a race or match. Everything we do is for the sole purpose to win, win souls for Christ. It means that we are to do all we can to train ourselves to do exactly what our call is, which is to make disciples. He saying that we are to also discipline ourselves not just to look good and holy, but to be prepared. When we are telling the Good News to others does our life match up with the same discipline? Paul says he fears that though he preaches Jesus, his life may not match up and thus he disqualifies himself by not living what he preaches. We are warned to lives a purposeful life and to also do what we can to be ready to share the gospel, not only through words but through our life.
I think I can identify with these verses in that I cannot teach what I don’t do. If I were to say to someone don’t eat foods that will harm you where they see me eating junk food regularly, my words don’t matter. Similarly, I need to be leading a purposeful life that matches what I am, and that is a disciple of Christ. If I am trying to lead others to Christ and yet I am unapproachable and always complaining about something, my words are ineffective. If I try to mentor someone while I am not practicing what I say to do, I disqualify myself. I need to make sure that what I am preaching is the same as the life I am leading or in the process of developing.
Jesus, thank you for sharing your words with me today. You are the example to follow and I know I fall short, but I am changing. Help me to train to become more like You. Help me to live purposefully for Your Kingdom. I pray that my life reflects who I am in Your eyes, and I pray that my actions and words reflect a disciplined and sanctified life. I love you and ask for your strength to get out of my comfort zone and to move on to strive for perfection as you are perfect. I love you so much! Thank you, Jesus! In Your Name, Jesus. Amen!