Bible Verse: 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
Scripture Reading: Galatians 2:20, Mark 5:25-34
Some have suggested it takes over 10,000 hours to become an “expert” at something. That’s 416 days, if you trained or practiced for 24 hours a day. If you spent one hour a day, every day, at your craft, it would take over 27 years to reach that point. Whether it’s getting ahead at work, perfecting your golf game, or playing an instrument – excelling at anything in life takes time, hard work, and dedication.
Elite athlete training is high-tech and scientific. I once had the opportunity to watch college football players train for the NFL Combine. It was fascinating to see how specific the training was, right down to customized sports drinks, designed to fuel their bodies based on each player’s position and body type.
The apostle Paul spoke about the strict training athletes did in his time to prepare for a race, and the discipline it took to win. He said that the runners of his day dedicated themselves to winning a crown that is temporary, just as for an NFL player, winning the Super Bowl is an incredible achievement but a temporary one. Followers of Jesus will receive a crown that is eternal, and we should take the same attitude of self-discipline when it comes to “pressing in” to our relationship with God.
As we have talked about this past week, we all go through dry seasons, we get hung up on past mistakes that hold us back, and we often let the cares of this world distract us. But Galatians 2:20 says that “It is no longer I that live, but Christ who lives in me.” This is the same Christ who loved us so much that He died for us so that we could attain that eternal crown. This alone should encourage us to reconnect with Jesus if we have been distant from Him, and to press even deeper into Him and He into us.
This is the faith and self-discipline we need as men, as we grow to be more like Jesus and live a life of purpose and godly impact. If you are going to “press closely into something,” “press in” to Jesus and let Jesus “press in” to you. The impact you can have on your family, co-workers, church, and community will last an eternity.
Prayer: Father, please help me to live a life of purpose and godly impact. I know that apart from You, I can do nothing, but if I remain in You and You remain in me, I can make an eternal impact in the lives of those around me (John 15:5).
Reflection: Starting today, how can you begin to increase your self-discipline and press deeper into your walk with Jesus in every area? Consider prayer, worship Bible reading, devotional life, church, serving, etc. Think of other ways you can “press in” to Jesus.
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