Today's guest author is a personal trainer and head coach for a strength & conditioning gym.
"You've all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You're after one that's gold eternally. I don't know about you, but I'm running hard for the finish line. I'm giving it everything I've got. No sloppy living for me! I'm staying alert and in top condition. I'm not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself."
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 MSG
As Kingdom Men, we are constantly at war with many things. Whether it's principalities and other demonic forces in this world, we also face everyday personal challenges from the comfort of complacency.
Paul was once a high official in the tribe of Benjamin who turned disciple of Christ. He realized the dangers of not keeping in top shape in all facets of life. Paul often uses many metaphors from different cities in the Bible to express the many parallels in the kingdom of God. Whether it's speaking on the Roman soldiers and their armor of protection, speaking to the church of Corinth about the body of Christ, or speaking on physical activity that helps lead to winning, Paul sees the tenacity and training needed to fight these battles. Paul stresses the importance of training to help expand the kingdom and keep our bodies in peak shape to do the Father's work on earth.
Paul mentions how he can stay motivated. He practices self-control in much the same way as an athlete in training continues to discipline his body with strict self-control over diet, exercise, sleep, and other behaviors. The Greek term Paul uses for "discipline" here is hypōpiazō, which means beating something black-and-blue. In everyday use, it implies giving someone a black eye! Paul says he "beats up" his body, like a boxer, to toughen himself for the sake of his spiritual stamina.
Paul remains in this state of continual training because he does not want to be disqualified. The context is Paul failing to obtain his goal of winning others, not somehow earning salvation. Paul recognizes and provides information saying that even he is not exempt from disqualification of his prize. The runner in a race is disqualified for running off the course, either intentionally or through ignorance. The boxer is disqualified for violating the rules, as well. Don't fall into a rut to be at a handicap or disqualified.
Paul states that to be effective and win others, only to fall short of the prize, is foolish and damaging to others watching your movements! When people see your discipline, it can become contagious and spark the "I want to do that" feeling in our body that makes us want to be better! We've all had an example of a sports figure that we've admired and wanted to mirror. Look at common characteristics, such as Kobe Bryant and the "black mamba" mentality, Floyd Mayweather and his constant training to be the best boxer, or Tom Brady, who dedicates his life to mastering his craft. Paul says we too must continue to battle physically and spiritually to be in top shape and continue the good work!
Daily Battle Order:
This week, stay vigilant in enjoying family time, identifying small cracks in your spiritual armor, any weakness you know should be trained. Lead by example by keeping fit, so we can inspire others and grow towards the Kingdom Man that God has called us to be. Run to win!