1 Corinthians 9:24–27 ‘Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.’(v26) 

All athletes know the importance of diet. As Christian athletes our diet is to feed from God’s Word, the bread of life, consistently and appropriately (John 6:35). Paul describes our life as participating in a race, with a prize for the winner. It’s easy to lose focus once life’s many responsibilities demand our adult attention. It appears increasingly difficult to squeeze in time alone with God. Church can become an awkward intrusion interrupting life’s rhythm. In other words, the pressures of daily life seek to dictate how we live and threaten our growing friendship with God (Matt. 11:28–30). 

We need to respond like an athlete, choosing to stay close to God our trainer and adopting a strict training regime (v25a). This involves learning how to make the most of our ability through responding to God’s leading. It’s acknowledging our weaknesses and vulnerabilities, as well as knowing our opponents’ strengths, which threaten to undermine our own performance and ultimately rob us of the prize.

Spiritual formation is not for elite Christians, but for all of us. We are all competitors in the race of life. A boxer who punches the air in hope can expect to be knocked down very quickly, yet God has made provision for us to compete effectively and live a life that reveals the authority and presence of Jesus (2 Cor. 4:8–9). Life for the disciple is to live on purpose, not drift aimlessly. Take hold of God’s purpose and train to win your life’s race.

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Psa. 18:16–45; Jer. 12:1–6; 2 Tim. 4:1–8; Heb. 12:1–13.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: What’s your preferred diet to train to win God’s race of life?

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, help me to establish a rhythm on training in Christian virtues. Amen.’

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Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.