The statement that Paul wrote to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 9:27 keeps popping up in my heart this week. He had been comparing our walk with Christ as a run in the physical - a race for a prize. There is something to be said for discipline...but it is easier and more often said than done.
"But I discipline my body and bring it unto subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified."
It is so easy to tell someone else how to live and what decisions to make to lead a godly life. However, when the shoe is on your foot, it is more of a challenge to consistently give yourself the same advice. Don't get me wrong, I am not insinuating that we make a habit of a "do as I say and not as I do" mentality. But I am saying that "saying" what to do is a million times easier than doing it.
Paul knew that he could preach to others and lead many to salvation, yet not choose to crucify his flesh and forfeit the race himself. I don't want to be that coach that is sitting idly on the sidelines cheering on others to finish strong, all the while stuffing my face with junk food and not even able to walk the race without getting out of breath. My encouragement at that point may rightly fall on deaf ears.
My testimony involves the struggle with eating disorders, and I believe that the Lord will use it to teach and help others. However, my testimony of the past has much less effect if my present isn't marked by a daily display of the changes He has made. I choose to discipline myself and hopefully watch others learn while running the race with them, rather than try to discipline others while barking from the sidelines.
Let's practice what we preach.
Father, please help us to discipline ourselves so that after having led others to You, we ourselves don't fall by the wayside. Help us to practice what we preach...to teach with our lives and not just our words. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27