Like an athlete training to dominate their sport, we must run (and run to win) even when we are tired, our motivation runs low, we feel discouraged, or when it hurts. And yes, it will hurt from time to time! Hebrews 12:11-13 teaches, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (New International Version).
Olympic champions do not evolve over night. Their accomplishment requires consistency and hard work. It commands the ability to do what others are unwilling to do. Similarly, as we condition ourselves to “run” for the Kingdom of God, we must train not only our bodies – but also our minds, emotions, and will.
Apostle Paul stated, “To win the contest you must deny yourselves many things that would keep you from doing your best [...]. Like an athlete I punish my body, treating it roughly, training it to do what it should, not what it wants to” (1 Corinthians 9:26, The Living Bible).