Scholar-Athlete (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

“I ate a whole pizza for breakfast!”

“Excuse me?”

Many years ago, I was introduced to one of my daughter’s classmates. He loved swimming and at ten years of age, he already swam for a prestigious swimming club. His schedule exhausted me as he described it. Every weekday, he had an hour and half practice before school followed by a two hour practice after school. On weekends, it was a four hour work out each day. This did not include the weight and aerobic training that he was expected to complete. He was burning those calories and an entire pizza probably made a very small dent in his total needs. On top of this rigorous schedule, he excelled in his academic studies. This young man later attended a school for gifted children and entered college when he was only sixteen years old. I am following his career and am grateful his passion for life has not dissipated. 

I have great respect for athletes who excel in their sport and are able to maintain a high scholastic standing. Scholar-athletes are to be commended for their discipline, organization, and perseverance. More than many of us, they understand the sacrifices one must make to accomplish their goals in life. 

Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NLT)

It is not surprising that the Apostle Paul used the metaphor of an athlete to describe the spiritual path that Christians follow. Disciplined, purposeful, goal-oriented. The same characteristics the scholar-athlete embodies are the same characteristics that a child of God should have. Christians are not shadowboxing, pretending to fight an imaginary enemy. Every moment we live is spiritual warfare with Satan who is determined to convince us it is not worth it or we don’t have to work so hard. Christians persevere in their walk with Jesus Christ because we have already received the prize, salvation and eternal life with Almighty God.

Praise God for His grace and mercy to us.

Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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