Thursday, March 21, 2013


By Bob Prichard
    Forbes magazine has an annual poll of America’s most disliked athletes. The 2013 poll is topped by cyclist Lance Armstrong, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’O, and golfer Tiger Woods. In our sportscrazed society, the worship of athletes makes for great disappointment when they are not what they are supposed to be. Their great sports accomplishments are too often accompanied by great personal failings.
    Andy Andrews’ book The Final Summit describes a gathering of great men and women of the past to trying to solve problems of mankind. Among the characters is King David. He explains that his ability to defeat Goliath and other giants in his life came from his self-discipline. He worked untold hours preparing himself for challenges. He admitted that his greatest failing, his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah the Hittite came from his lack of self-discipline.
    Athletic excellence, such as demonstrated by the athletes on the Forbes list, comes from many hours of practice carried out through self-discipline. Paul drew from the realm of athletics to show the necessity of self-discipline:
    Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (1 Corinthians 9:24–27).
    It is hard to imagine, isn’t it, that even Paul had to work hard to practice self-discipline? Armstrong inspired millions by conquering cancer and the world’s greatest, but won by taking a drug shortcut instead of practicing self-discipline. What might you accomplish for the Lord with more self-discipline?

- Bob Prichard preaches for Oxford church of Christ in Oxford, AL. Via the weekly bulletin of the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. Clifton Angel preaches for this congregation and may be contacted through their website: 

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