I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. (1 Corinth. 9:22. ESV.)
Athletics: Training in the Lord
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (1 Corinth. 9:24-27. ESV.)
Growing up, my sports were dance, gymnastics, and volleyball (preferably beach volleyball). Though volleyball was recreational, the other two were not. I went to school, did homework, and went to dance or gymnastics classes...eat, sleep, school, dance/gymnastics. Rarely did I socialize outside of my education and athletic training.
Paul compares living for the Lord in the Holy Spirit to preparing in a sport.
Run to Win
58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58. ESV.)
Each day I ask myself if I am being productive (or wasting my time) and if I am taking every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). I am glad to know "in the Lord labor is not in vain". I once had someone say to me, "Everything you read and write is religious." (I don't feel it is quite accurate to say "everything" but I would say "most things".) Is that so bad? Not according to 1 Corinthians 15:58.
I really like Paul's analogy. I have heard it before but never really let it sink in I guess. As a former athlete I can relate to what he is saying.
A dear friend (and sister in Christ) and I are talking about studying through a book together. When she asked which one I preferred I said RESPECTABLE SINS by Jerry Bridges. I have read through it before but would love to refresh my memory of what Bridges writes...and hear someone else's input on it as well.
In closing I will leave off with a quote from John Piper. He states,
"Life is not a place for proving to God or anybody your strength. Life is a place for proving whose strength you trust—man's or God's. Life is not a place for proving the power of your intelligence to know truth. It's a place for proving the power of God's grace to show truth (Matthew 16:17). Life is not a field for demonstrating the force of our will to make good choices. It's a field for showing how the beauty of Christ takes us captive and constrains us to choose and run for his glory."