Dreams. Goals. Ideas. Yet, how many of us put things off this year? How many of us have said, “I’ll get to it?” Too often times our procrastination is prolonged, because the things we say “not now” to becomes “never”. I once read an African proverb that said, “Every morning in Africa, a Gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a Lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest Gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a Lion or a Gazelle… when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.” The year is coming to a close and the new year is on the horizon. However, many of us are discouraged because what we intended to accomplish this year has not been accomplished; thus, it is my desire that you hit 2011 RUNNING.
Jerome Bruner once stated, “you’re more likely to act yourself into feeling than feel yourself into action.” But one of the hardest steps to take is the initial one. There are often times reasons we give why we shouldn’t begin, or reasons why it won’t work. However, you have to sometimes force yourself to move, because every achievement in life begins with a determination to try. But do you know, that in order to obtain the prize you have to be committed? The Apostle Paul gives us insight in his 1st letter to the Corinthians as to our commitment.
Commitment to Excellence
Paul here illustrates our spiritual walk to that of a race, which for the Corinthians wouldn’t serve as a problem since the Ancient Greeks celebrated the Olympics and Isthmian games. Notice, 1) many run in the race but only one wins the prize 2) run in such a way that you may obtain it 3) run your own race. Many times we get caught up in every one else’s race and are discouraged to begin our own. However, winning requires purpose and discipline! For Paul says, “for everyone who competes for the prize, is temperate in all things” (v.25). This means an individual must engage himself in strict training. John Macarthur says, “liberty cannot be limited without self-control, since the flesh resists limits on its freedom.” In other words, Paul is saying to us, if you want to receive the prize you must have self control, in fact you have to excel above everyone else.
Commitment to Endurance
The Scriptures says, “everyone who competes for the prize…” or as King James says, “every man that striveth.” The word in the Greek used for compete, or striveth, is the word agonizomai, whereby we get the word agonize. This word means, to contend, to endeavor with strenuous zeal. In other words, when competing for a prize you have to be patient. The word in the Greek language often used for patience is the word macrothumeo, which simply means suffer long. NIV calls this striving, “strict training” Two things you must realize 1) don’t cut short your training 2) maintain an eternal perspective (get a crown that will last forever). Remember, endurance is unwavering resolve, or fortified tenacity that makes us keep going, regardless of the obstacles that might come into our life to slow us down or give up.
Commitment to Integrity
The word integrity is a beautiful word when you break it down…think about it, what is the root word for integrity….integrate/integer…both of these words has the understanding of wholeness. An integer is a mathmatical term for whole number and integrate has the picture of two sides becoming one. Therefore, integrity has to deal with becoming one. Integrity is your actions becoming one with what you say. Having integrity is It is not profressing to be a “Saint” and living like an “Aint.” Integrity is professing Christ and possessing Him also. Paul says in the 27th verse that he disciplines his body and bring it into subjection. Many of us are guilty of this…we buffet (buh-fey) our body, when the bible says we should buffet (buf-fit) it. We dwell in the supper room vs the upper room, lol…We say that we are going to study but we really are going to socialize.
My father once told me that “proper preparation prevents poor performance.” Thus, “I fight not as one who beats the air.” The imagery here is of a shadow boxer who 1) misses his opponents or 2) waves his arms in the air. Too often we are like shadow boxers, waving our arms in the air neither connecting or making much of a difference. Rather, Paul is making moves and making contact to his opposition. Whatever your opposition is, fight not as one hitting the air, but fight as one making contact and making moves. So start these remaining days of the year preparing yourself mentally, physically, etc for the pursuit of 2011.
Wired Fired and Inspired to Make Moves!!!!