Athletics is one way to illustrate the Christian journey. Steeped in a culture of competition, the Apostle Paul observed, “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.” (I Corinthians 9:25) As contemporary Christ-followers, if we are going to make spiritual progress we will need discipline. Spiritual disciplines might be thought of as any practice that enhances spiritual vitality. Dallas Willard suggested, “The spirit of the disciplines is nothing but the love of Jesus, with its resolute will to be like him whom we love.”
When Paul described a disciplined person on the Christian “race course” he used a term which has given us the English word “stadium.” What was his advice? “Run in such a way as to get the prize” (v. 24). Every Christian must have this passion for the prize – our eternal crown, our heavenly reward. This is far different than the ancient laurel wreath that would have soon withered. Our prize is the reward of God’s “well done”!
From February 3 to March 3 we are going to consider some important spiritual disciplines that will help and heal our souls. Ideally, these are proactive in making us ready for the rigors of our spiritual journey. In other cases, these disciplines offer a restorative effect. In both cases, they help to position us to receive God’s transformative power. So…let’s get ready to receive some First Aid for the Soul.