Beating The “Hell” Out Of Ourselves

During yesterday’s sermon, I put this image up on the Jumbotron as I preached from I Corinthians 9:24-27 about “Beating the Hell Out of Ourselves.”

ahnold1

The scripture talks about the fact that in a race, many people run, but only one gets the prize. Christians should run their spiritual race in such a way as to win the prize.

Hate him or love him, Mr. Schwarzenegger is looking pretty impressive here. It’s no wonder he was Mr. Universe and a six-time Mr. Olympia. A few points worth considering:

-It takes work to see results. The more outstanding the results, the more difficult the work must have been to achieve them.

-We all have some hell inside of us. Weakness, jealously, addictions, anger, laziness….these things can rarely be talked out of us. They have to be beaten out with constant, 24/7 effort.

-You don’t achieve results of any kind just by standing still. If you don’t like where you are, there is at least one area in your life in which you could afford to pick up the pace.

-Ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things. In fact, the goal of religion arguably is to attain a “spiritual body” that’s as inspiring and honed as Arnold’s physique. When he started lifting weights at age 16, he only weighed 98 pounds and couldn’t afford a gym membership, but look at him now.

-Athletes workout and train to win cash and medals and t-shirts and respect. Christians are “training” so that they can be fully used by God in the world, so that we can live up to our higher calling. Sometimes, we get cash and t-shirts as an after effect, but doing all that you were born to do is better.

-If you look like Schwarzenegger, the enemies and bullies out there will think twice about trying to mess with you–they’ll generally move on to an easier target.

-He’s the governor of California now, but in this picture, he was just another meat head. But he was such a committed, visionary meat head that he got a chance to be an actor. And he was such a driven, memorable actor that he got to run for office. There’s no ceiling on what you can accomplish, even if you have already accomplished something that you consider great, God may have new levels in store for you.

-You wouldn’t take advice on how to look like a champion bodybuilder from someone who’s out of shape. Imagine a flabby coach in a velour sweat suit, whistle around his neck, telling Arnold how to shape his body properly. Easy to be a coach, but hard to be an effective one unless you’ve been there yourself. Perhaps there are too many Christian Coaches standing around beating the hell out of everyone else and not enough Christian Competitors beating the hell out of themselves.

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