Will You Be Disqualified?: Running to Win the Prize
When I write these posts, it is not because I have mastered these disciplines.
Let me assure you, I haven’t.
I write from the vantage point of a fellow sister who is seeking to live out her faith in practical ways.
So in this discussion about our physical health and caring for our bodies, I want to once again remind myself that my goal is not mere productivity but availability.
Every day we are given is both a gift and an opportunity.
As a part of His temple of the Holy Spirit, our bodies are not our own, for we have been bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:19). Tending our bodies so they are fully available to offer to Him also can be a spiritual act of worship (Rom. 12:1).
In 1 Cor. 9, Paul says he has been given the stewardship of sharing the gospel (v. 17). For the sake of this task, he is willing to endure weakness and the loss of rights, that he may more effectively share this life-changing message with others (v. 19-23).
This goal of reaching as many as possible for Jesus was the supreme focus and purpose of his life. For that reason, he disciplines his body and keeps it under control, so that he may win the prize and not be disqualified (v. 27).
While there is more to discipline than physical discipline, I am struck by Paul’s perspective.
Or do I cavalierly assume that somehow my body can get by without enough sleep, suffer no ill effects from poor dietary habits, or get a pass for my sedentary lifestyle? Do I really think that I am that special that I will escape the side effects of such living?
As I have said before, the purpose of this is not just physical health for health’s sake. I am not advocating bodily training for itself, for that is of small value (1 Tim. 4:8). But I am encouraging us to make space for it, for through our physical training, we also contribute to our spiritual vitality and availability.
I need want to be healthy—not merely for my own benefit, but for the sake of those He has given me to serve and bless—my husband, my children, my church, my neighbor.
This is not about earning the favor of God. It is about being fit to participate most fully in the life God has given to me.
Let’s run in such a way so that we win the prize!
What will this mean for you?