Thursday, February 9, 2017

Victory Requires Discipline

Chuckle: A 6-year-old said his grandmother lives at the airport. "When we want her, we just go get her. Then, when we're done, we take her back to the airport."
Quote: “The rewards for those who persevere far exceed the pain that must precede the victory.” Ted Engstrom

“If anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules” (2 Timothy 2:5 NASB).
Some people confuse principles with rules. A principle is a value that comes from deep inside a person. On the other hand, a rule is an external restriction that describes how something is to be done. To obey a principle you have to use your mental and moral values. To obey a rule you have to do what the rule book says.
The apostle Paul often uses the analogy of athletic competition to teach us spiritual lessons. I love sports and admire athletes for setting challenging goals for themselves followed up by the determination and discipline necessary for them to excel in their chosen sport. Their moral principles give them the desire and the will to compete for the prize, and the rules of sport restrict how they compete. “I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Jesus Christ is calling us up to heaven” (Philippians 3:14 NLT).
No one gets to be the best at anything without a personal commitment to excellence accompanied by endless perseverance and hard work. This is also true in our spiritual journey. Our desire to run the spiritual race, do our best for our Lord, and win the prize comes from principles He has instilled within us. How we run the race is determined by the instructions/rules in God's Word.
What principles govern you when it comes to setting spiritual goals for your Christian life? Have you thought much about winning the prize God has waiting for those who remain faithful and disciplined in their spiritual quest? The strength of your faith and consistent dedication work together for God to make you into the person He wants you to be. To steal a recruiting phrase from the U. S. Army, have you set a personal goal to "be all you can be" as a fully devoted follower of Christ?
I think many of us have become spiritual "couch potatoes" rather than disciplined and determined followers of Jesus Christ. Without a desire to please God through a vigorous spiritual exercise, our spiritual lives can become atrophied and weak. Spiritual exercise includes praying, studying, serving, sharing, teaching, giving, etc.
If you find yourself apathetic toward your church and the things of God, you may be in need of a new spiritual goal and exercise program. It's never too late to start getting in shape physically or spiritually. Just recommit your life to Christ, spend time in His Word and prayer, and get out there where the action is. Find a ministry that fits your spiritual gifts and get busy at spiritual "body-building." As you get your spiritual exercise, God will open new doors for you and renewed joy will fill your heart.
Love, Jerry & Dotse

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