1 Corinthians 9:24-27 states, "Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize. You also must run in such a way that you will win. All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches. 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."
I remember very well the discipline, the self-control, and the determination I had as a high school girl that desired so much to be the best I could be in volleyball and basketball. All the many hours I put into going to camps, leagues, workouts, and practices was due to the determination I had to succeed and help my team win. I personally did not have the "natural" athletic ability that some of my friends had. I had to work very hard to be able to become a contributor to the team. Many of my personal goals were met as an athlete in high school although the reward of such hard work was so very temporal.
As Christians, none of us are very "natural" at being Christ-like. We all must realize that it takes discipline, self-control, and determination to achieve this goal. This could mean a number of things for any of us. Our devotion/prayer time is one discipline that all of us need to be able to obtain this deep desire in all of us to look more like Christ from one day to the next. Some of us need to work harder at self-control whether it means less sugar, less T.V., or even less time spent at work and more time with family. The essential characteristic for each of us, I believe, is determination. If we are not determined, then we will lack discipline and self-control. We will not receive ALL that God has for us. Some of us are more determined in our earthly pursuits than we are to follow through with our commitments to the Lord.
Fellow servants, if we are lacking determination let us pray it back DAILY. Let us "run straight to the goal with purpose in every step."