I Promise Devotion – 2.2.2016

Beatle SpinThis week’s iPromise Principle: Purpose is a promise you submit to not a proposal you submit.

Today’s iPromise Principle: Train with purpose because you have a purpose. #followandfish

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.  1 Corinthians 9:24-27

It was a hot summer day and we had been fishing all morning.  Gary and I were sandwiched between Uncle T and Mr. Dave.  I think I was throwing a Beatle Spin off the end of a borrowed Zebco 20/20.  We hadn’t caught a thing all day…I’m not sure we had even had a bite, but we just kept trolling.  I watched Mr. Dave cast over and over within inches of the bank and branches without ever getting hung on anything.  I think I had a Coke in one hand and Fudge-Round in the other when I saw him do something amazing.  He whipped his rod back and cast a top water at least a mile.  The line arced and the lure landed on the back side of a grassy area where there was a narrow but steady flow of water coming from the swamp.  I think his bait came to rest half in the soft mud and half in the water.  He popped the line one time and the water erupted.  He had his rod tip up faster than I could think and after a few minutes and a few dramatic jumps Mr Dave had landed the biggest Bass I had ever seen.

That day I was kid slinging the wrong bait randomly into the middle of the river hoping to get lucky.  Mr. Dave had total control of every cast and every cast was purposeful.   This was probably my second or third time fishing while is was Mr. Dave’s third decade of fishing trips.  He was the only person who caught a fish that day, but there were four of us who celebrated the catch.  Mr. Dave “received the prize” that day because he had trained himself to cast with great precision and he knew where they bait needed to land.

Kirk wrote yesterday about our purpose as fisherman.  And today we look at how the Apostle Paul uses an athlete analogy in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 to teach and encourage Christ followers to prepare for a life of fishing.  Paul essentially says, “Hey, if an athlete is motivated to train hard to win a temporary trophy, shouldn’t we do the same for a God-sized eternal reward?  Give it your all so that you might obtain the prize!”  He finishes with this, “Follow my example of purposeful living and do it in such a way that you are qualified to teach others!”

I am grateful that Mr. Dave took me fishing many more times to teach me how to fish and encourage me to practice. I still can’t make that mile long cast, but I know now that aimlessly casting into the middle of the river probably won’t work.  I’m not sure that I have the motivation to fish all day even when they aren’t biting, but I do know that the only way to be a fisherman is to keep casting.  I may not catch a fish every time I go out, but my discipline and purposeful practice make me a qualified teacher…well at least for someone who is throwing a Beatle Spin off the end of a borrowed rod and reel.

So, train with a purpose because you have a purpose and let’s go fishing!

-Spend some time thinking about an eternity in God’s presence.
-Share the good news of how God changed your life with someone today…even if it’s not easy.
-Take someone with you and show them how you share the Gospel.

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