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12 Ways to Turn Your Pain into Praise

Sapphires from Psalms

Better Than Jewels

I love watching the Olympics where the world’s best athletes perform their best. It’s inspiring. I can never watch these people compete without thinking about the Apostle Paul who grew up where the Olympics started, and compared competing in a race with running for the gold in life.

 This life is a race, not a rat race. You don’t want to be a rat, but you might talk to those closest to you to see how that’s workin for ya! Life is not, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” He or she who dies with the most toys is still dead! We are running for the ultimate prize, going to heaven with Christ and taking as many folks as we can with us.

 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, reads,” 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 someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

I grew up in the South hearing people say, “Southern girls don’t sweat; they glisten. They get the vapors, honey!” Outside was where you placed your lounge chair. Then I came to California and saw girls actually running and playing sports, on purpose:) I was  impressed, to say the least. Paul was talking to those folks, folks serious about the race.

If we examine the original language in this section:“ Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training,” we can see what Paul was trying to get across to us here. The word competes means to strives for mastery, to agonize with every muscle and nerve strained to the breaking point. Remember Paul lived in Rome where the Olympics began. In Paul’s day, your very life could depend on your victory.

Strict training in the original language means temperate in all things.” Let’s look at this word temperate. It’s not just disciplined. The word temperate infers a self-discipline, self-control. Paul is saying that the strict training that we are undergoing requires hard work and self control on our part. Temperate means that we act out of the power that we have in our hands.

We’re not victims. We’re not reactive. Satan would like us to think we are. Paul is saying here “grab a hold of your goal. Seek the Holy Spirit’s help and give it all you got! Live like it matters. Give it all you got, even if it hurts.”

When it comes to sin, we can’t say, “It’s Not that bad. This is a little sin.” Or, I’m tired of holding to Christian standards. My friend’s don’t.” Or, “I’m not as bad as him/her?” or the saddest excuse ever, “God will forgive me anyway.”

just because god’s grace is free doesn’t mean it’s cheap! The kingdom of God is struggling today because people think it is! We don’t strive to be temperate. We become self-indulgent and as we rationalize, minimize and justify our stupid. We miss God’s best, and we waste what God has for us.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to “fight like a boxer beating the air.” I don’t want to miss what really matters. I want to go for the ultimate gold, pleasing the Lord.

For some tools to help you run the race check out our latest post on




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