All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. –1 Corinthians 9:25-27

Every year at the beginning of January consumers are inundated with advertisements to lose weight, quit smoking, to finish school and more. Companies do what they can to cash in on the “New Year’s Resolutions” tradition. In early January, the weight machines and cardio areas of fitness clubs everywhere are filled with people who are hoping to lose their holiday season weight gain or to start getting into better shape. However, the busyness doesn’t last long. By the end of February or beginning of March, the annual fitness fads die and the crowds thin out as the unmotivated drop off.

Here’s a challenge for you: don’t refer to your spiritual commitments as “New Year’s Resolutions.” Generally, people tend not to keep them. An athlete works out each day and slowly builds muscle, stamina and endurance as they train over the long haul. Paul, in his letter to the Christians in Corinth, tells them that they must discipline themselves like athletes. The Christian walk requires hard work, self-denial, and difficult preparation. You are called to be on the field, not merely a spectator. Christians are called to be disciplined in prayer, reading the Bible and worship. It is these areas that will help you live with purpose and stamina.

Resolve to be disciplined each day by spending time in God’s word and praying so that you can build your spiritual muscles.

1. Have there been periods in your life where you have consistent times with God? Think about the effect that had on your spiritual walk.

2. Athletes often make sacrifices for their training. What is something you can give up in order to make more room for God in your life?

Romans 8:9-12; 2 Corinthians 13:3-6; 2 Timothy 2:3-7

Help us reach the next generation of families

Back to Top

Kelly McFadden

Kelly McFadden is a wife and mother and is part of the HomeWord daily devotional writing team. Kelly graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2000 with a degree in journalism. Following a season of playing professional volleyball and training with the US National team, Kelly returned to school and received her Masters in Christian Education from Azusa Pacific University.

  • About HomeWord

    HomeWord helps families succeed by creating Biblical resources that build strong marriages, confident parents, empowered kids and healthy leaders. Founded by Jim Burns, HomeWord seeks to advance the work of God in the world by educating, equipping, and encouraging parents and churches. Learn More »

  • Support Our Mission

    HomeWord is non-profit, donor supported ministry. If you would like to partner with HomeWord in our effort to help more parents and families you can make a donation. Your investment will allow us to expand this ministry by offering more resources to families and churches in need.

  • Contact Information

    • HomeWord
      PO Box 1600
      San Juan Capistrano, CA

    • Send us an email

    • 800-397-9725
      (M-F: 8:30am-5pm PST)