Don’t you realize that everyone who runs in a race runs to win, but only one runner gets the prize? Run like them, so that you can win. Everyone who enters an athletic contest goes into strict training. They do it to win a temporary crown, but we do it to win one that will be permanent. 1 Cor 9:24-25 (GW)
The glory of the athlete is a winning trophy andthe glory of the Christian is an old rugged cross.
in the best of seven championship hockey finals. With the Steelers‘ Super bowl win this past season, and the Penguins win this season, Western Pennsylvania is now home to two championship trophies. Now if we could only get the Pirates on the winning side.
The Penguins came home to the sound of an appreciative crowd lining the streets of downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniawith the thrill of the victory fresh on their minds while Detroit went home in defeat. Both teams fought valiantly but only one could come out the victor. This year it was the Penguins who came out on top. Relish the victory while you can boys because next year you have to repeat or give the cup to someone else. Each year’s victory is only a fleeting moment in time.
We Christians on the other hand have a CROWN of LIFE for life if we overcome our adversaries. There is a war going on. There is a race to be won. There is a battle to be waged. There is a contest for the ultimate prize. We must therefore guard ourselves and train ourselves to be able to overcome the obstacles on our path towards the goal.
A hockey player, or any sports athlete knows they must train and be in top condition in order to compete at their finest. They can not allow destructive behaviors and detractions interfere with their training and conditioning. Most serious athletes eat, drink and sleep their sport. They study all the greats and learn all the basic requirements to winning. They do not look for shortcuts but work hard to achieve peak conditioning.
Today, with the introduction of strength enhancing drugs, some athletes are tempted to cheat on their training regimes. In sport, where performance matters, some lesser athletes may be tempted to choose cheating over hard work and talent.
We however must hold to a much higher training regimen than even the most devoted athlete. Our training is a matter of life and death. It is not just a fleeting crown we are seeking but a lasting one. Therefore we must run the race honestly and wholeheartedly. We must be sure to abide by the rules of engagement and strive to run the race with integrity so that when we finally reach our destination we can hear the words come on in (Mat 25:34) and not depart from me.(Mat 25:41)
I fear sometimes that we take our responsibility to live the life Christ modeled for us too lightly. I feel that many have left off of their training regimens and replaced it with a quick easy workout. While reading the “Daily Bread” and praying over our meals are all good practices it must not take the place of sincere, rigorous training. We must exercise ourselves toward godliness and not look for a short cut. We must pick up the weight of our cross and carry it faithfully and daily. We need to exercise our spiritual bodies, perhaps more so than our physical bodies, because the stakes are much higher if we fail.
For physical training is of some value (useful for a little), but godliness (spiritual training) is useful and of value in everything and in every way, for it holds promise for the present life and also for the life which is to come. 1 Tim 4:8 (AMP)
The Stanley Cup, although impressive, will one day end up in a landfill. It’s shiny surface will tarnish and fade. The applause of the roaring crowds will die away. The adoration of the frenzied fans will disappear, and all that will remain are the memories of that winning season. Come next season you start off a losing team and have to do it all over again. You received your reward when you won the cup. Now you have to earn it all over again.
I have fought the good fight. I have completed the race. I have kept the faith. The prize that shows I have God’s approval is now waiting for me. The Lord, who is a fair judge, will give me that prize on that day. He will give it not only to me but also to everyone who is eagerly waiting for him to come again. 2 Tim 4:7-8 (GW)
How much greater is it to receive a reward that will never fade, can not be tarnished, will never grow dim, and it’s beauty will continue for all eternity? How much greater is a crown that can never be forfeited nor be taken away? Therefore do not cut corners on your training but instead fight the good fight of faith. You can then be sure, when all is said and done, that you will have waiting for you the crown of righteousness which is given to anyone who eagerly awaits the Lord’s coming again.
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