But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:27
Our lives here on earth are a series of trials, tests, and struggles. Our goal is to overcome, but in order to do this it takes practice. A good example of this is athletics. Athletes that compete must first prepare for the competition. They must discipline themselves to eat the right diet and to do the daily training required to even have a chance at the prize. They cannot skip even one day of their training. Most days, they probably do not feel like training, but they overcomes their feelings because they know they must “suffer” to be prepared for the competition. They keep their focus on what the desired outcome is . . . Victory! The way to get to that victory, is to go through the struggle, discipline, and intense training required. Surprisingly, after a while of living a life of this kind of discipline, the body begins to crave it and the training becomes a habit. The athlete no longer has to push through the feelings and suffering because they actually look forward to the preparation time and getting better in their ability.
It’s the same thing with issues and problems we face each day. If we sit idly by or just ignore difficulties, most of the time they will derail us from our overall goals and victories. We need to keep our eye on the prize and remain single minded (focused). This is where the preparation time becomes so crucial. You have to build up your faith and trust in God daily so that when the difficult times come, you are ready to overcome with the Word of God and your faith anchored strongly in His Spirit through your relationship with Him. Think of it this way. If a thief breaks into your home, that is not the time to start a workout program to become strong enough to overcome him. You must make those preparations ahead of time. It works the same way with overcoming the obstacles of life. You must do the work before the trial, test or struggle “breaks in.”
In today’s verse, Paul is talking about disciplining his body. He says he brings it into subjection so that he can talk to others about salvation without being disqualified by habits that pull him away from his focus. Paul actually says that after all he has done for the kingdom of heaven and all that he has gone through, he can still be taken out of the race if he doesn’t keep control of his bodily habits. He knows that there are times he will have to push through his feelings and he knows there will still come times that he will have to resist the temptation to give up and quit.
Today I want to encourage you to strengthen your faith by getting more of God’s Word in your heart. Make spending time fellowshipping with God a priority in your daily spiritual “workout.” Spend time in praise and worship to fill up with the power and strength of His Spirit. Get prepared for all obstacles by being focused on what is on the other side of your fight and get ready for the joy of victory through every trial that comes your way.
Today’s scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27