1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV)
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 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. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
Lance Armstrong, the name carries with it all sorts of images and memories. Armstrong won seven Tour de France bicycling events as well as other events in bicycling events worldwide from 1999 to 2005. He was a master at using his skills in planning his routes and his strategy in his competition. People said there would never be another Armstrong after he captured his seventh tour title.
When interviewed before one of the Tour DE France races, he was asked what it was that woke him up every morning. His swift reply was, “The yellow flag is what wakes me up and tells me what to eat and how to train. It is the yellow flag that sets my course.”
For all his years of training and practice and grueling workouts, he was the best in the field worldwide. No one even questioned this fact; that is until it was discovered that he had cheated and broke the rules by taking performance-enhancing drugs to give him a competitive edge over the other racers.
When the news finally broke, and he admitted to taking the drugs, his name was removed from every record he held, all his medals were returned, and he was stripped of all his titles of bicyclist of the year and sportsman of the year. His name no longer carries the admiration of sports fans. He is only known now as the one who cheated to win but lost in the end.
The Apostle knew something of this warning when he writes in I Corinthians that every athlete must compete according to the rules and not let his desires cause him to cheat. If an athlete does not play by the rules he will be disqualified, worse than that if a person who calls himself a Christians lives a private life of immorality and selfish pleasure and appears to all others like he is competing according to the rules he must know that there is one who sees his dark disobedience and will one day disqualify him for his rewards.
We are not of those who look for easy shortcuts to our walk with God. We choose to accept the call to deny ourselves and to accept the disciplines of fasting and prayer so we might grow to love our God more.
Let us lay aside those things which so easily entangle us and let us pursue our God through this great adventure of prayer and fasting,
Following Hard after God,