Our relationship with God is something that needs to be constantly developed, practiced, and improved. Much like a professional athlete, we need to learn the basics, train hard, heed instruction, develop our talent, and give our effort everything we’ve got. We need to play to win.
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” 1 Corinthians 9:24
Getting in shape and staying in shape is hard work. We may need to get up early or stay up late to complete our training. We will need to always be ready to go the extra mile in our service to God. There will be sacrifice. There will be hard times.
“I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Rom 8:18
We can’t skip practice and still expect to do well on game day. Our walk with Jesus will require some discipline. There are lots of distractions in this world that will try to keep us from fulfilling our spiritual journey. Resist temptation and stay focused on serving God.
“Those who have been trained by discipline know the reward it can bring.” Hebrews 12:11
Fellowship with other believers is critical to our success. Trying to achieve victory alone is shortsighted. There’s enormous value in great coaching. Find a good mentor. Find a trusted teacher.
“For by wise guidance you will wage war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.” Proverbs 24:6
When we play to win, another critical factor will be how well we know the Word of God. The only way to know what God expects from us is to read the Bible on a regular basis. We need to study the rule book – The Bible – before we get out on the field!
“If anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.” 2 Timothy 2:5
You know where the knowledge and power can be found – it’s not in you. You won’t find it in this world either. Ultimately there’s only once source of power.
“The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 1 Cor 1:25
Our opponent plays hard, bends the rules, and flat out cheats without worrying about getting caught. We can’t beat him without God. If you’re not thinking about the opposition, you’re not in the game. If we’re going to play to win, it takes a team effort. We are in a contest battle with a no-holds barred adversary. He doesn’t want to win – he wants to destroy.
“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Pet 5:8
We can’t win on our own. We need the power of the Holy Spirit inside us to overcome our adversary. The opposition knows we have this overwhelming power and fears seeing us take the field.
“You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” James 2:19
When we devote ourselves to God through love, worship, Bible study, and services to others, we establish the kind of discipline that will bring victory.
“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14
When we focus on God, the prize is guaranteed.
“For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” Luke 17:21
You have the ball. The goal is in sight. Focus.
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