Life is like a race, which means it is something we must train for.
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 are 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, ESV)
Sanctification – the path of life we are on – is not a competitive race where our success means others lose, but it is a race in that perseverance and deliberate practice makes a difference. It is a race we run with due diligence, not a moving sidewalk that does the work of progress without any effort on our part.
This passage in Corinthians tells us that this running requires self-control, aim, and watchfulness.
You are running a race, which requires training; therefore, exercise self-control.
My son, getting better at something means working through the sweat, the sore muscles, and the temptation to give up. Those things are normal, and the athlete who succeeds is the one who doesn’t give up when they come. This is true in sport, in school, and in sanctification.
Myself, making a face and saying, “Ugh!” over another meal, another load of laundry, another spill, another fight is not exercising self-control. These things are opportunities to practice doing the right thing, the duty in front of you, instead of what you would prefer to do. Praise God for these little steps toward the fruit of the Spirit.
You are running a race, which requires training; therefore, run with a purpose.
My son, none of the hard things in life are without purpose, because they are all from God’s fatherly hand. When you feel like quitting – quitting a chore, quitting math, quitting a good attitude – remember your purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Doing the right thing instead of the easy thing is one way you will fulfill that purpose.
Myself, you have a purpose much higher and grander than keeping a clean house or reading Shakespeare with the children or making meals for the family. Your purpose is to glorify God yourself – by gratitude & obedience – and disciple those in your care. These other things – housekeeping, educating, cooking – are tools for discipleship and not ends in themselves. If they are not supporting that purpose, then they need to be put in their proper place.
You are running a race, which requires training; therefore, watch yourself.
My son, running this race well will not come easily or automatically. If you are not watching and working, your sin will sneak and strangle you. Always watch. Always be on guard. Never give up. You have God on your side and will not lose the war if you keep up the fight.
Myself, running this race well will not come easily or automatically. If you are not watching and working, your sin will sneak and strangle you. Always watch. Always be on guard. Never give up. You have God on your side and will not lose the war if you keep up the fight.