Intense Spiritual Training

I 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.
 
Paul, an avid sportsman himself, compares the athletic contests of the Greco-Roman games with that of Christian discipleship. In order to succeed in whichever event they are enrolled (in this case the marathon or wrestling), athletes must embrace a strict training regimen (opposed to willy nilly one v26). They must be all in, totally committed, and pump massive amounts of energy, time, sacrifice, and suffering into this training. The obvious motivation of each competitor is to win the stephanos (crown/wreath) that the Emperor places on the heads of triumphant victors at the closing ceremonies of the Games.
The Christian “race” for glory (Romans 8:30) is a spiritual marathon, not a sprint. Nevertheless, it is a race that we must intensely train for primarily by utilizing the spiritual disciples of praying, fasting, giving, serving and devotional Bible reading. With the best life possible, in this world and the world to come at stake, and with all the blessing and rewards available in each, this is a race we must do all we can to win. So let’s turn that spiritual mush into spiritual muscles and get on with it by doing the spiritual disciples at home and spiritual service at church.
 
Agape,
 
Pj
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