Not Just Shadowboxing EGP Blog post from January 26, 2014

There are baseline levels of things that we should all do as Christians (Matthew 22:37–40), but God specifically calls us to a mission. For some people that is in the “mission field” witnessing to people across the world, for others it is a call to preach or another church position, but others still it’s the seemingly less glorified mission of remaining faithful to God while working a secular job and being there for your family both physically and spiritually.

We may not always know what our mission is, however, especially since God often calls us to extended periods of time in the wilderness. But these times in the wilderness are never just periods of wandering aimlessly in the desert, they are times of preparation…a time of being faithful with where we are and with what we have, regardless of our knowledge or ignorance of the next step. These are the times where we are faithful with the few before being given the responsibility over much (Matthew 25:21), because when much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48). These are times of training for what’s to come!

1 Corinthians 9:23–27 (NLT2)

[23] I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings. [24] Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! [25] All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. [26] So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. [27] 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.

So, wherever you’re at, TRAIN! Train HARD! Train with DISCIPLINE! Train like an ATHLETE!

Boxers may spend some time shadowboxing for cardio, but in order to fight, they must hit a punching bag with purpose and they must spar other boxers with determination, like it’s an actual match. Athletes of all kinds spend more time training in the gym than they do in the ring, on the track, or on the field. They MUST spend more time without the ball in their hand than with it. They must discipline their bodies by eating properly, sleeping properly, denying themselves of “good” things that aren’t directly helping them get closer to their goal (2 Timothy 2:4). They must continue pushing past their comfort zone and training to keep on going regardless of energy levels (1 Peter 5:8–11).

Athletes train the best they can for all the situations they may or may not encounter in the field. They train to the point to where they don’t have to think about what they’re doing because they’ve prepared enough that it just comes naturally (Mark 13:11). They train so that when the unexpected comes, they are able to handle it the best they can. They train hard because when the timer runs out it’s either a win or a loss, regardless of how close the score was. They train hard because when they cross the finish line, either they got first place or they just got some other place, regardless of whether it was neck-and-neck.

But…they train for prizes that will rust and tarnish, records that will be beaten, and glory that will be forgotten. But not us!!!

Philippians 3:12–14 (NASB)

[12] Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so° that I may lay hold of that for° which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. [13] Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, [14] I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12a Lit if I may even
Philippians 3:12b Or because also

2 Timothy 4:6–8 (NLT)

[6] As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. [7] I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. [8] And now the prize awaits me-the crown of righteousness that the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that great day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his glorious return.

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