Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 16, 2015
Athletes in training are very strict with themselves, exercising self-control over desires, and for what? For a wreath that soon withers or is crushed or simply forgotten. That is not our race. We run for the crown that we will wear for eternity. 1 Corinthians 9:25, The Voice.
As a teenager who played sports, mediocrity was never the goal. The deep desire called for rigorous training and disciplined practice, so every day I became a little bit better. Those who excelled the most came early to practice and stayed late. Each team member focused on doing his part to perfection and any slackers were replaced by someone who may have had less talent, but more heart. So, I honestly ask myself, “Am I as committed to moral excellence as I am to excelling in athletics?” My commitment to Christ compels me to follow a prayerful process of moral growth.
In Paul’s day Greek athletes were worshiped like gods (sound familiar?). Physical ability and fierce competition were highly esteemed. Wrestling, boxing, archery and swimming were a part of their sporting activities. Every four years the Olympic games were the focus of the culture. These games were literally a religious event where sacrifices were made to the gods. Self-denial, self-discipline and self-control was the process used by athletes to train for their events. The focus on earthly accolades for the winners pales in comparison to faithfully finishing our race with Christ.
“So I don’t run aimlessly. I don’t let my eyes drift off the finish line. When I box, I don’t throw punches in the air. I discipline my body and make it my slave so that after all this, after I have brought the gospel to others, I will still be qualified to win the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:26-27, The Voice).
Our body is a place holder for purity. Our physical actions lead us to follow a path of self-indulgence or self-denial. If we are serious about following a moral ethos, we will bring clarity to our conversations about moral absolutes. Not only will adultery and murder not be tolerated, but anger and arrogance will be frowned upon. We will develop a disciplined mindset that not only rejects soft pornography, but defers to the interests of others. Like a Michelangelo masterpiece, our moral features grow sharper as the Holy Spirit chisels our character into Christlikeness.
Furthermore, engage in a community who holds to a moral ecology based on the Bible. We do better when we are surrounded by others who expect us to do better. Bible based morality works. It works in relationships (accepting, serving, forgiving). It works in finances (share, save, spend). And it works emotionally (security, peace, hope). Above all, depend on Christ to deepen your moral resolve and grow you into His humble child. We train, but God tames and transforms us!
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me…I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12, 14).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow me into a morally mature follower of Jesus.
Related Readings: Acts 20:24; Galatians 2:2, 5:7; 1 Timothy 6:12; Revelation 3:11
Post/Tweet this today: We do better when we are surrounded by others who expect us to do better. #morality #wisdomhunters
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