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.”
During an early morning walk on the beach, football players in training were observed. These young men were improving their athletic ability and body coordination with plyometric and conditioning drills. The training was intended to improve their footwork and quickness. Athletes understand that speed and agility are two skills that are essential for success. These young men sacrifice sleep, comfort and ease in order to hone their skills and condition their bodies.
1 Timothy 4:7 instructs God’s children, “Train yourself to be godly.” Hebrews 5:14 reads, “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
Strict training and consistency enable God’s children to distinguish good from evil. Strict training translates into making choices that are not popular, saying “no” when many others are saying “yes” and sacrificing today to receive tomorrow “a crown that will last forever.” What seems easy to do in theory is difficult in practice.
Strict training is not about immediate gratification. It is about doing the right thing moment by moment, day after day, month after month. The training is revealed in the choices we make, the investment of our time and limited energy. Most of us, sadly, are engaging in activities that will earn us a crown that will not last.
We often succumb to desirable and time consuming pursuits that are devoid of eternal value. A quote by Francis Chan states, “Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” What am I striving for? Does it really matter? Am I pursing accomplishments that will reap an eternal reward and a crown that will last forever?
We have been given the profound gift of life. Ephesians 2:10 reads, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Have I trained in such a way as to be able to know God’s will for my life? Has strict training conditioned me to the degree that I hear God’s voice and follow His promptings and do the good works that He prepared in advance for me to do?
May today be the day we relinquish all that hinders our intentional walk with God and begin the strict training necessary to get the crown that will last forever. Strict training begins with knowing God, consistently spending time with Him in His Word and having intimate conversations with Him about the abundant life that He has planned for us to enjoy.
Father God, I surrender my life afresh to you today. Lord, I surrender my time, my talent and my treasure. It is the desire of my heart that I accomplish the works that you prepared in advance for me to do. May your faithfulness guide my seeking heart to the center of your perfect will and may my life be used for Kingdom purposes. Lead me away from pursuits that have no eternal value and enable me to know your heart, hear your voice and fulfill your calling on my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.