Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 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 9:24-27 (NLT)
As the Apostle Paul unpacks the imagery of “athletic competition” in this verse…several things immediately come to mind: Location, Position, Posture & Preparation.
· LOCATION: As a runner, ask yourself…am I even at the proper address, in the right venue, at the correct stadium…spiritually speaking? Am I embracing & walking in the purpose mandated by my birth? The inquiry of “Adam, where are you?” was not because God needed GPS to determine Adam’s locale. Rhetorical in nature…the question was to provide personal insight on Adam’s behalf concerning the spiritual “disconnect” and dysfunction brought on by his own disobedience. So, regarding “your” relationship with the Lord…are you where you should be? Are you where you need to be in this season of your life?
· POSITION: Are you in the “lane” to which you’ve been assigned? It’s a futile attempt to engage God in a “point-counterpoint” verbal wrestling match in an endeavor to move from the outside lane when He’s already assigned you to the inside lane. You can have the what, why, when & how aspects of His will for your life and yet misfire on the where! Find your lane and don’t move until and/or unless God says otherwise. Identify your gift, your calling, your passion and prayerfully seek God’s direction and guidance accordingly. Bloom where you have been planted!
· POSTURE: Is your “starting block” stance and your form during the race conducive to victory? Simply stated…what’s the posture of your heart? Are you pliable, flexible and receptive to instruction and correction? Are you walking in humility, surrender and obedience? Or are you like the misbehaving kid who upon being admonished by his mother to “sit down and obey”…begrudgingly did so as he mumbled, “I’m sitting down on the outside but I’m standing up on the inside”. On the other side of your obedience is the incredible blessing and favor of God you so desperately need to fulfill your “God-breathed” destiny.
· PREPARATION: Have you yielded to the discipline of the process? Can you trust God “through” the process? That being said…can God trust you? The objective of the refiner’s fire is that we come out as pure gold…that others can see in us the reflection of Christ. Proverbs 27:19 says it best, “As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.” It’s certainly no coincidence that the words “disciple” and “discipline” originate from the same root word…”to teach, train and instruct.” Creating character in His kids...that's God's relentless pursuit. And He won't quit until it's completed. At times, you may feel unqualified, untrained, "under-gifted", unworthy or perhaps unappreciated. Yet, this is the perfect scenario for God to move and to work in your life. For the believer that's actively pursuing the heart of God, this is a season of "spiritual" circumcision! It's a process in which there is a cutting away of distractions, baggage, weights and anything or anyone in direct competition for His undivided attention.
So don’t compromise. Don't settle for less. Don't opt for mediocrity. Don't sedate yourself with the status quo. Run to win! Run with purpose in every step!
Pastor Gregory Morris is a communicator at heart with a passion to share the Gospel via the spoken word, the written word and song. As the “pen of a ready writer”…the mandate upon his life is twofold: a) to reach a hurting, broken world by extending hope through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and b) to equip and empower born again Christians by igniting a greater thirst and hunger for God’s Word through sound, balanced teaching and preaching.