April 28, Sunday

Today’s devotional is a reprint of Pastor Barry Kang’s blog first posted on April 6, 2013.


Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“Discipling Ourselves to be Like Christ”

1 Timothy 4:7

“Train yourself to be godly”

In my high-school years, I ran cross-country and I remember having aspirations to run a marathon one day.  As the years have gone by, I have given up on those aspirations! One of the reasons being that marathons almost always seem to be held on Sundays, and I’m too holy to miss church!

But it so happens that the Boston marathon is held every year on a Monday, and so the thought once in a while crosses my mind.  What if I could run?  What if someone paid the entrance fee of thousands of dollars for me, and I was given an opportunity to run the Boston marathon this year?  Would I be able to finish?

And the answer would be a resounding NO!  The main reason I wouldn’t enter the Boston marathon is not because of the day it’s held, but because I couldn’t run a marathon right now.  Even if my entire church lined up the entire way and cheered me on, I could not run a marathon the whole way.  I’m just not in good enough shape. I would need to train. A lot.

It takes more than the opportunity to run a marathon.  It takes more than having motivation and determination.  It takes training, lot’s of training. This is obvious. Running a marathon is about training more than trying.

One of the greatest little books I’ve read on spiritual transformation is The Life You’ve Always Wanted by Pastor John Ortberg, from which I drew this nugget of wisdom:

“Spiritual transformation is not a matter of trying harder, but of training yourself wisely.”

Here’s the thought for today.  What if running the race of life is a little like running a marathon?  What if following Jesus isn’t a matter of trying to be like Jesus, but training ourselves to be like Jesus?  What would that entail? For now, consider what the apostle Paul says on the matter: “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. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:24-27).

Prayer: God, help me to take my faith seriously enough to really discipline myself to be like Jesus.  Help me to develop a habit of reading the Bible and praying consistently; help me to develop of a habit of being gracious to those who offended me and generous to people in need. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Corinthians 13

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