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