Intentional Training

Kyle Lum


SCRIPTURE: "So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.

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 9:26-27 (NLT)


OBSERVATION: Paul is describing his "qualification" to those who were questioning his spiritual authority as an apostle of Jesus...not having been with the "original crew", in fact being a persecutor of Jesus' followers until his own personal encounter with the glorified Jesus on the road.

The transformation in Paul's life was paired up with supernatural authority that inspired many, and caused the Gospel to spread through the planted churches...Paul's legacy in faith.

He describes being "all things to all men so that by all means he might save some"--a radical approach that imitated Christ much more than the rigid inflexibility of the Jewish Christ followers.

But all this didn't come by osmosis or nice thoughts.

Paul trained his mind and heart...and he used a staple of the Empire--athletics--to parallel the discipline and drive needed to have such spiritual wisdom, and the authority that is paired with it.

Training which required Paul to choose some things over others. To choose what he spent his time feeding his mind, and how he had to set aside what might be "good" for what God truly intended for his life. Using his energy wisely, not "shadow boxing" with things that don't damage the kingdom of darkness.

And taking deliberate time to listen carefully and be undistracted by outside influences to discern what is God's coaching voice and what was the world pulling him away from God.

This training boils down to one word; intentionality. Paul wanted intimacy with God so much that he shaped his life with intention to be close to Jesus. And it showed!


APPLICATION: One thing I'm doing in this season of my life is training physically. Losing 20 pounds over a year is quite a feat in a world with great temptation and opportunity to indulge in pleasure that will set me back to my starting point...or beyond it! I rebuke that donut! 🍩

It requires stewarding my life well. What I eat, how I train, what I need to change in my lifestyle to accomplish the goals I set for myself, for optimum health. Why? To keep me going strong at a season where friends of mine have been dying and slowing down because of a lack of training...sedentary lifestyles with unhealthy habits...I didn't want that for myself.

The same bears true for my spiritual life in Christ! I can't hope to be effective in the ministry without a higher modicum of training; in mind and heart and even in body!

What I feed my mind is just as crucial as what I feed my body...garbage in will make garbage out, to borrow an old computer term.

How I steward my down time and how I use it for spiritual fitness, for the things important to God (relationship with Him, my wife and kids, true rest), or to entertain and amuse myself...will either bring spiritual vitality or lethargy...

And how I practice my life...consistently, or with a duality that has a secret life that betrays who God designed me to be, giving in to the world and the flesh. Sometimes the greatest pain in training is the pain to resist what we know is not good for us, that we know will yield great gain if we don't give in or give up!

What are my intentions? Who is my King? And does my training reflect that? Questions I ask myself daily.


PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You are the King of my life and heart. And though my lifestyle sometimes borders on treason, You have never stopped loving me nor given me grace. I am grateful.

Help me to remember to train for eternity and godliness in the same manner that I have been training to be in the best shape of my life...for the long haul...and deliver me from those donuts!🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩. Amen.

Devotions for March 24

Joshua 18,19,20
1 Corinthians 9

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