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When I was in high school, I played on the football team. Our coach put us through intense training. We did exercises, ran laps and wind sprints and drilled on the fundamental skills. But that’s not all the coach expected. He also advised us on getting to bed at a certain hour, eating certain food and avoiding other foods. He also told us to avoid things that could damage our performance such as smoking. We were in training. Athletes at all levels follow similar training programs. Professional and Olympic athletes not only have coaches to teach the movements and skills of the sport, but have nutritionists who advise on the amount of calories, carbohydrates, proteins, fat and water to consume. Serious athletes follow strict training rules!
In fact, athletes were doing this nearly two thousand years ago. Listen to what the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:25, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”(NIV) Here Paul compares the training discipline of an athlete with living the Christian life. We are to live for Jesus with the same energy as running a race or boxing in the ring. The word translated “strict training” is the same concept as self-control. We must have “strict training” because we are living a life with an eternal outcome!
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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.