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.
1 Corinthians 9:25
This morning I read the she works His way devotional about this verse. The part that caught my attention the most was the substituion of competes in the games to whatever it is we are called to do. Write a book, run a business, etc. Changes things a bit doesn't it?
I remembered that at the Passion Conference this year Christine Caine talked about the distinction between obedience and legalism and how we avoid obedience by labeling it legalism. Guilty as charged. The difficult part for me has always been determining where one ends and the other begins. However, this verse and Michelle's anaology has helped to clarify it.
The idea of strict training is the notion of discipline and obedience. It's about practicing something until you get better at it. However, you can't get better at doing anything if you are consistently doing things that distract from what you are called to do. This is where I have always tended to get things muddied in what should be clear waters. If what I am doing is prohibiting or delaying victory or completion of a task, then abstaining from it is not legalism, it's obedience to doing what is most important. (FYI, this is why I eliminated the Tsum Tsum app from my woman child's Ipod. I could manage to play that game every hour on the hour when the hearts would reoccur. Don't even get me started about bonus hearts and how long a session could last.)
The point is we all find ways to deter obedience because we have something else that is a preference.
If our mission is to make much of God and make sure that he is known to those around us, I can pretty much say that it probably isn't going to come through a high score on any game. Is it possible for his glory to shine because people understood our addiction and we have been freed from it? Absolutely. But that's more likely to happen when we have the time to do what matters most and someone hears our story of how we surrendered what didn't matter for what did and managed to do what God called us to in the first place.
Each of us have unique calls on our lives to do something for the kingdom that makes an impact. But in order to do those things, we have to be willing to participate in the strict training that's necessary. The question we have to ask ourselves is what's keeping us from moving forward and then take it to God to ask for help to lay it down. But the promise we'll reap from discipline will not only get a crown that lasts forever, but our transformation will be evident to all who witness it.