Tag Archive | discipline

Jesus, My Prize

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” 
I Cor. 9: 24-25

Wow, it’s been quite a work out, I am completely out of breath, and I need some serious recup time….from all the Olympics we’ve been watching!

Along with the sporting events, I really love the personal stories that chart the courageous journeys of various athletes:  each story is different, but the similarities are noteworthy—their road to the Olympics was not easy, filled with intense training, focus, sacrifices, hurdles (literal and figurative), races won and lost, aches, pains, and sheer exhaustion.

A little Citi commercial captures the discipline unseen to the cheering crowds:

“Take a day off? I can’t take a morning off.”

 “I haven’t ordered dessert in two years.”

 “I haven’t watched TV in months.”

And I wonder why I’m no Olympian 🙂

But I am in a race. And God’s Word reminds me that I’m pressing on for a prize much greater than a gold medal, of more value than huge commercial endorsements, and more enduring than world fame.

Jesus, my Redeemer and Saviour, is my Prize.

“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Revelation 22:12

His worth is beyond compare and His value, priceless.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16, 17

No fireworks, TV coverage, or anthems play as we press on to Him. But, hey, we do have a cheering squad!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

If we falter, stumble, or lose ground along the way, we have a loving Father who will pick us up and carry us across the finish line.

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy….” Jude 24

 “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

 My favourite part?  There are no losers! Everyone in Christ wins!

“Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:8

And finally, there is no room for pride in this race. Humility is the winning characteristic.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” I Peter 5:6

The journey of a Christian is not easy.  It is a lifelong,uphill climb; often met with more jeers than cheers.  And it requires as much diligence and discipline as we see demonstrated in the most inspiring of Olympians.

Please, join me, in the challenge, so we can encourage each other as we…

“….press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:14

Cultivating Contentment

“I have learned, in whatever state I am, therein to be content”  Philippians 4:11

The state of contentment,  not a place we usually find ourselves.  No matter where we are, what job we’re in, or how much money is (or isn’t ) in the bank, we’re usually not satisfied with our lot.  The verse above implies that contentment is something we have to learn.  That’s a tough lesson.

C. H. Spurgeon vividly confirms this in his devotion for today:

“Covetousness, discontentment, and complaining are as natural to man as weeds are to the soil.  We need not sow thistles and brambles; they come up naturally enough, because they are indigenous to earth.  Similarly, we do not need to teach men to complain, they complain fast enough without any education.

“But the precious things of the earth must be cultivated.  If we would have wheat, we must plough and sow.  If we want flowers, we must plan and care for a garden. Now, contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and if we would have it, it must be cultivated.

“It will not grow in us by nature. It is the new nature alone that can produce it, and even then we must be especially careful and watchful that we maintain and cultivate the grace that God has sown in us.  Paul said, ‘I have learned…to be content.‘  This statement implies that he did not know how to be content at one time.   It cost him some pains to arrive at the mystery of that great truth

“No doubt he sometime thought he had learned the lesson, and then broke down.  And when at last he had attained it, and could say, ‘I have learned, in whatever state I am, therein to be content,’  he was an old gray-headed man, on the borders of the grave–a poor prisoner shut up in Nero’s dungeon in Rome.  We might well be willing to endure Paul’s infirmities and share the cold dungeon with him, if we, too, might by any means attain his good position [of contentment.] 

“Do not indulge the notion that you can be contented with learning, or learn without disciple.  It is not a power that may be exercised naturally, but a science to be acquired gradually….continue to be a diligent pupil in the College of Contentment.”

Time for class…..