SOAP Study - October 20, 2020

    10.20.20 | by Jon McCoy


    1 Corinthians 9:24-27

    24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 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.


    • What verse stood out to you while you were reading?
    • What did you discover about God, yourself, and others?
    • How should this information impact your life?
    • What needs to be different about the way you are currently living?
    • Take some time to talk to God about the things you just learned and how you want your life to look different. Give God thanks for revealing these things to you, ask Him for wisdom and courage to move forward so that you can apply these things to your life.

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    Paul compares our lives as Christians to runners in a race. Paul notes that while all might run, all don’t win. Therefore, Paul emphasizes the importance of training and discipline. As the desire for maximum performance increases, efficiency becomes critical. The careful preparation to perform at a competitive level also implies the importance of the body. The body is the instrument of the spiritual life. While Paul speaks of training like an athlete, he ends by noting that he does not wish to be disqualified after preaching to others. In other words, Paul seems to suggest that the way that he runs can propel him toward the goal or, if done carelessly, can disqualify him. The opposite of careless is purposeful—each step that Paul takes has a purpose.


    In one of the TED talks delivered by Simon Sinek, he asks the question ‘what is your why?’ More important than “what is done” is “why is it done?” Almost everything can have a purpose. Many years ago, I was surprised to learn how many calculations were performed to determine the most effective placement and movement of the body in many martial arts forms. Inordinate amounts of time were devoted to discovering the most efficient movements and placement of the hands and feet. Paul says ‘I am not just shadowboxing.’ He was preparing for the real race; he was preparing for life. Many instructors will remind students ‘you perform the way you practice.’ Sometimes people “hold back a little” when practicing to reserve their strength for the actual performance. However, when practicing the appropriate placement and movement, speed is not always most critical, but accuracy is paramount—every step has a purpose.


    God, help us to appreciate the purpose of each of the lessons that we learn. Remind us of the purpose of each step. From our words to our silence, let us carefully choose the placement of our hands and our feet. So much meaning is conveyed when we stand, sit, run or walk. Let every movement have purpose and let every movement express Your will. Amen.