I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
–1 Corinthians 9:27
Purpose is to our life what the skeleton is to our body. Our skeleton gives shape to our body; it is what everything else hangs off of. It is the same way with our purpose. When you grasp that God has enlisted you as a soldier to expand His kingdom, it will give you the motivation to live your life with purpose. It will help you make decisions from how to spend your time to what to eat for dinner. Just as a soldier in battle or an athlete in competition will train his body for maximum performance, so a soldier of Jesus Christ will understand how important it is for him to make his body his slave rather than his master.
Your body can either be your greatest asset or your greatest liability in serving God. For example, you can use your voice to lead somebody to Jesus Christ, or you can use that voice to discourage another believer. You can use your hands to open up God’s Word and feed yourself spiritually, or you can use those hands to open an inappropriate internet site that destroys your love for God. Your feet can take you to the forefront of spiritual ministry, or they can lead you deep into the enemy’s camp to be overcome by the evil one. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:26-27, “Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” Do you know what Paul feared the most? He worried that in some unguarded moment he might fall into a sin that would discredit the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is why he disciplined his body. If we are going to avoid the traps of the enemy, we have to constantly remind our body who is in charge.
How do you discipline your body? By pushing away that second piece of dessert. By saying no to that extra sitcom on television and instead spending time in prayer. By getting out of bed rather than lounging around for another thirty minutes. Now there is nothing inherently sinful about eating dessert or watching a sitcom on TV. The point is that saying no to those things reminds your body who is in charge so that when temptation comes, you will be able to say no. But you will never have the motivation to discipline your body and therefore stay out of sin unless you understand your purpose in life. Just as an athlete will find it difficult to maintain his training regimen when there is no game on the calendar, and a soldier will find it difficult to go through drills when there is no enemy in sight, so a Christian will have little motivation to discipline himself when he does not see the purpose. A Christian who does not understand that he has been enlisted to spread God’s kingdom will eventually give up on discipline and give in to sin. Living your purpose in life is the best motivation for disciplining yourself and avoiding the traps of the enemy.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “These Boots Were Made For Walking” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org