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One Who Endures for the Gospel – The Disciplined Athlete

by Larry Miles

larry123From the Series ‘”An Approved Servant of the Lord” from Larryslines.com

If  one wants  to be “An Approved Servant of the Lord,” he or she will need to practice faithfulness in their Christian  life.  We have all been  called out of a “kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of His Love.” (Col. 1:12-14) We  must  be  those  who put a  premium on faithfulness. We must realize that  we are  in “for the  duration.” The Lord takes us from where we were and, if we are willing  to grow, He will provide the  resources we need to be equipped for  service. This  process  will  involve   “endurance.”

The Disciplined Athlete: (2 Tim. 2:5-6.  One of the descriptions of a Christian in the New Testament is that of an athlete. The Apostle Paul uses this terminology often. We read in 2 Tim. 2:5: ”An athlete is not crowned unless he com­petes according to the rules.” Paul writing in 2 Tim 4:7 says that “I have finished the race.” In I Cor. 9:25-27 we read of   one  who is  running  a race.

John MacArthur writes the  following: “The Gr. Verb  (athleo) expresses the effort and determination  needed to compete successfully in an athletic event.” During the time of Paul, the Greek Games (Olympics) were very prominent and many particip­ated or at least had an interest. Paul used words and phrases that talked about how an athlete pre­pares himself for his “sport.” Then he makes an application for the Christian.

To participate in the Greek games, one had to be a citizen of the city he lived in. Paul talked about “Christian Citizenship” in Phil. 3:20. The person would have pride in his city or country and would seek to bring honor to it. He would be willing to put in all the training so that he would be at peak performance when the games began.

So it is with the Christian. The participants in the Games were competing for a physical crown, but we compete for an imperishable or incorruptible crown. Paul wrote in I Cor. 9:25: “Every athlete ex­ercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperish­able.” The athlete would put all he had into training and would not let anything hinder him in that area. The Christian must be the same. He or she must be equipped with every thing the Lord has for us. Jesus said he came to give us “the abundant life.” We must keep our eyes on Jesus and according to Titus 2:12 “renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.”

The Christian life is not a bed of roses, rather it is an on going life of commitment and steadfastness. In

I Cor. 15:58 we read: “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

Let’s run with endurance the race set before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus at all times (Heb. 12:1-2). If we will do that, concentrating on improving our spiritual life daily, we will draw nearer to Jesus! Being a Christian “athlete” will mean you are “growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus!” (2nd Peter 3:18)


             Larry Miles preaches part-time at Mackville Church of Christ, Mackville, KY.

                                                                     He attends Cherry St. Church of Christ in New Albany, IN.

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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33