Here is one of the two spots in the Bible where athletes perk up and take notice. We can all identify with what Paul is saying here. Practice makes perfect. Training brings improvement. When we are disciplined in something, we devote time and energy to it; we work at it. Change habits and do away with the things that are unproductive and repeat the actions that help us achieve our goals. Whether it is shooting baskets, hitting golf balls, running ever increasing lengths, doing scales or playing the same video game over and over again; we all have had goals that we have strived to reach.
Paul says that the Christian life is the same sort of thing. We have been given everything we will ever need. We are free in Christ. In spite of that freedom, however, we still work at living a life that will be pleasing to God and a benefit to those around us. We limit our freedom and discipline ourselves to habits and lifestyles that will help us to better be used of God to affect the lives of others.
In that sense, our goal is not heaven. That is our destination, but it is guaranteed. Our goal here in this life is to love those around us the way God loves. We strive to build other believers up and to lead non-believers to a realization that God is indeed there and He is speaking. With that goal in mind our personal goal should be to train ourselves to effectively live the life that God desires.
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