Every athlete exercises self control

File:Skier-carving-a-turn.jpg
Skier carving a turn off piste

After watching skiing on TV, we marvelled at what incredible fitness the athletes obviously achieved as they skied twisting and turning up hills and then down them. In some cases they went non-stop for over an hour. What intensity of training was obviously involved; how intensely they ‘push’ their bodies in striving to achieve a national honour.

Our reading today in 1 Corinthians 9 provoked these reflections. Paul asks the question,

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, 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 obtain a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable” (verse 24).

How far beyond any present experience (or our imagining) is that which is “imperishable”! Paul then describes his approach to this, a description of his attitude that should, no, must make us meditate within ourselves.

Paul writes,

“So I do not run aimlessly … But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (verse 26).

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/2a/Telemarker_HQ.jpg/800px-Telemarker_HQ.jpg
Telemark skiing – Sulzkogel, Tirol, Österreich Photograph: Luidger

Self-discipline is the ultimate challenge! We usually can accept discipline when others are applying it to us for a good purpose that is clearly evident – but spiritual discipline requires clearness of vision in our minds – including a vision of what disqualification means! Yet we must serve our Lord because our love for him is genuine – fully appreciating the spiritual joy that we hold in our hearts!

These days, with so few being willing to listen – or read – we might give up on being a light shining in a dark place! But the darker it is – the more evident its’ light is going to be! Or is the darkness so thick and intense it is smothering it?

There is a marvellous Proverb we should hold up as a guiding principle for our thoughts.

“But the path of the righteous is like the light of the dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until the full day” (4:18).

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You may find more Thoughts for the day and articles at The Christadelphian

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Additional reading:

  1. Looking for True Spirituality 8 Measuring Up
  2. Wisdom not hard to find nor hiding in remote places
  3. Determine the drive
  4. Compassion and Discipline
  5. Digging in words, theories and artefacts
  6. Bible in the first place #3/3
  7. Those who make peace should plant peace like a seed
  8. Get up in the morning and pray for the Lord’s blessings

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  • God Is Forever Faithful (birdchirp.wordpress.com)
    Whatever battles we may be facing in life we know that God loves us much more than we can ever imagine, and He is always faithful to come to our assistance.
  • February 5 – struggle (cohdailyprayer2014.wordpress.com)
    We are meant to go deep with God
    To have a full relationship with God, one must live in an environment where worship can be learned, the spiritual disciplines gained and spiritual warfare fought.
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    The game we are playing is not some banal sport the powers play, looping us into voting for what commercial is better. It is a contest for truth, peace, faith and salvation. It is the fight of prayer. It is the spiritual training for fearlessness. The world thinks making a touchdown is amazing. Good grief. We need to go deep with God.
  • T2Pneuma Publishers LLC Encourages Lenten Studies with Online Sale of A Christian Guide to Spirituality (blackchristiannews.com)
    Spirituality is often confused with other terms such as ‘religion’, ‘faith’, and ‘creed’. Even though these terms are synonymous, spirituality itself has much more to do with belief and how one lives out their beliefs. What one believes shapes the way one thinks, acts, and speaks, as well as the way one treats others. Gurus and religious leaders may teach that spirituality begins by looking within, but it doesn’t. It begins with God.
  • God doesn’t put on us more than we can handle???? (howleadersmanage.com)
    The Lord doesn’t put Anything on us. We live in a fallen world and if anything our hardships are from mankind’s own disobedience tracing it back all the way to the garden of Eden.
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    The Lord is not our oppressor. He is our relief,our savior, and our Father.  And if you really think about it, of course we can have more on us than he can handle. If we could handle it, why would we need to call on a savior.
  • “The things that God has prepared… (tithebarn.wordpress.com)
    It always amuses me when the TV produces a well-known celebrity face to pronounce on some event of the day. What made them an expert, all of a sudden? They are entitled to their opinion, of course, but that’s all it is. A famous footballer may have opinions about art or politics but it’s outside his area of expertise.
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    But why should I trust a tone-deaf music critic?
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    If you love God, He will dwell with you. If you obey God He will reveal himself to you. Not perhaps!
  • Lawful but is it beneficial? (sethgogo.com)
    Paul has twice in writing to the church at Corinth stressed the importance of making sure that what they do is beneficial, which by extension includes us. In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul was addressing the issue of church members taking one another to court. He explained to them that Christians will judge the world. Not only that, but the saints will judge angels as well. He therefore considers internal disputes as trivial and should be handled within the body of Christ, (1 Corinthians 6:2-3).
  • “Heal the Broken – Hearted” (bible.queerchurch.info)
    Paul stresses that preaching the gospel is “a duty which has been laid on me”. That duty however is shared by us all, as Pope Frnncis spelled out in “Evangelii Gaudium”.
  • Who is on the Lord’s side (christadelphianworld.blogspot.com)
    There are references to God’s book in different parts of Scripture which climax near the end of the last book in the Bible when, what is called “the book of life” (Revelation 20:12) is opened and “if anyone’s name is not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (verse 15). Obviously this lake symbolizes the trashing of all those who have had the opportunity to be “on the Lord’s side”, but decide to serve themselves rather than God and His Son. Are you on the Lord’s side?
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