"Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable crown. So I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air." 1 Corinthians 9:24–26 CSB
I love sports. While my favorite sport to play at this age is probably golf, I participated in many sports while I was younger. I trained vigorously throughout my high school and early college years for one purpose: to compete at a higher level. Training was not always fun during my most serious seasons, and I did things that looking back on today should be considered blasphemy, such as giving up Dr. Pepper, but to me the trophy was more important.
As my sports career turned into a military career later on in life, the training became even more focused, having to give up not just certain food and even coffee, but I had to give up some of my rights to train to become a soldier. There was always a purpose behind my training, and the purpose was never without result.
Paul here uses a great analogy. Many of us can relate to competing at something or training for some purpose in our lives. Our purpose is Christ. Day by day when we don’t read our Bibles or we don’t worship, we don’t seek God’s face aimlessly as Paul says. I would go as far to say that if we do it to earn favor with Christ, our purpose is blinded. When we seek Christ, we need to be single minded, we need to persevere, and we even need to give up some of our own personal rights, or better said, what the flesh wants.
Our end goal is Christ. Russell Moore says that “Our end goal is not a Christian America, either of the made-up past or the hoped-for future. Our end goal is the kingdom of Christ, made up of every tribe, tongue, nation, and language.” Are we training with a purpose? Are we living out our purpose? If not, sisters, today is the day to start.
God, I pray that I begin each day with purpose. I pray that I glorify You and that I grow to bring others to You as well. Help me to continue to stay focused on Your glory and Your kingdom. I love you. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Do you “train with purpose”? How are you living out your purpose this week?