Headgear and boxing gloves are mandatory in Ol...

Headgear and boxing gloves are mandatory in Olympic boxing and amateur boxing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A CHAMPION IN A GIVEN SPORT

As a believer, we must have a champion mindset to compete the Christian life. The race that all Christians need to prepare themselves for is the calling of God. What does it take to be a champion in a given sport? For one, it is necessary to have a dedication to succeed no matter what the cost.  A passion for the game is certainly essential, as is a single-minded determination to accomplish the task.  A willingness to train incessantly is required.  In addition, a burning desire for the trophy or prize awarded to the one who wins is an absolute must.

In (1 Corinthians 9:26, Paul illustrates the “champion” mindset required to faithfully complete the Christian life with this statement, “I run thus; not with uncertainty” and “Thus I fight; not as one who beats the air.”  We understand from studying this verse that Paul was not an aimless competitor.  He had a clearly defined goal.  Like an athlete preparing for a race or a boxing match, Paul knew that he had to discipline his body; he had to force himself to maintain the strenuous, consistent practice needed for success.

The race that Paul prepared himself for, the race that all Christians need to prepare themselves for was the calling of God.  Paul taught, that Christians are rewarded for the calling that God gives them.

One weekend I was watching the sports news and heard something I had never heard before.  A sportscaster was covering a Las Vegas boxing match.  He reported that the match was stopped because one of the fighters had quit fighting in the middle of a round and started crying.  This burly brother just broke down in the middle of the fight.  They later learned that the fighter was physically, mentally, and emotionally unprepared to fight.  The promoter said he had tried several times to convince the fighter’s coach and trainers to cancel the bout because of concerns that the fighter had not completely recovered from a recent struggle with drug abuse.  He told them that the man wasn’t in any shape to box, but his camp insisted the fight go on as planned.  So they put him in the ring, and shortly thereafter, this out-of-shape athlete gave what he had.  When that ran out, he quit.  Moreover, he cried.

Obviously, he lost the fight.  If he had won, it would have been a significant step in his career, putting him on track toward the championship.  If his trainers had postponed the match, he might have won.  But they didn’t, and he lost.  He lost because he was out of shape.

Many of you are losing the fight.  You are losing spiritual battle after spiritual battle, not because you don’t know Jesus, or because you doubt the promises of God, but because you’re not spiritually fit.

In 1 Timothy, Paul painted a picture of an athlete who trained his body for competition.  He counseled Timothy, his rookie minister, to train and prepare himself for spiritual competition.  Paul said to be an effective minister; a true servant of the Lord, Timothy needed to exercise himself on a spiritual level.  Paul said, by comparison, that bodily or physical exercise is good, but its benefits are limited to the body, which is purposed to serve us only temporarily, only in this life.

However, spiritual fitness, or godliness, has lasting value.  Its benefits carry the believer through this life and the life to come.  As believers, we should prepare ourselves spiritually for the challenges and battles of our Christian walk.  Paul urged us to get in shape and stay in shape.  The choice is yours, what will you do, and how will you prepare yourself for Spiritual Fitness?

Now this concludes part one of this two part lesson.  In part two we will discuss with you, your options of training.  I remain as always, your brother in Jesus Christ, Pastor Davis/Master Teacher!


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