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Exercise Self-Control In All Things

“Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it. Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one.” — 1 Corinthians 9:24-25.

Trinity’s own Drs. Joel and Lamar Muro recently shared this captivating picture of their beautiful daughter, Eliana. The more I studied this action shot, the more qualities of the Christian life became apparent: knowledge, discipline, determination, competition, and her own God-given athletic skill. Knowing Eliana as I do, I know that she (and her younger brother, Maxwell) are knowledgeable in many areas. The image makes clear that Eliana has complete knowledge of her chosen sport. More importantly, She and her brother have been given knowledge and wisdom from above (Proverbs 4:7). Eliana and her brother are very fortunate to have parents who are nurturing them in the faith community. The image reflects the many hours she spends in disciplining herself in mind and body.

While at Trinity she (along with our other children) learns how to become a disciple (student) of Jesus by learning the spiritual disciplines. God has given her not a spirit of timidity but of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). She has strong determination because her parents and her church have taught her that she can do all things through Christ who gives her strength (Philippians 4:13). Eliana is also aware that as a Christian, she (along with all children, youth, and adults) compete against the evil powers of this world. An athlete is not crowned unless [she] competes according to the rules.– (2 Timothy 2:5). Finally, this picture of Eliana in action displays in a powerfully visually way her skillful athleticism.

Trinity United Methodist Church values children. We place a high premium on all of our kids. I am very grateful to God that we have so many parents in our church who take interest in, and are deeply involved in, the lives of their children. Carefully studying this picture of Eliana compels me to ask the same questions about my own spiritual life: Do I have a deep knowledge of the scriptures? Am I rooted and grounded in God’s living Word? Am I a disciplined follower of Jesus? Am I determined to love as Christ loved, to give as he gave, and to forgive as he has forgiven me? Do I reject the evil powers of this world and resist injustice in whatever way it presents itself?

Okay, about my own athleticism…I think we all know the answer to that question! The good news is that God gives to each of us spiritual gifts as God chooses (1 Corinthians 12:4-11).

We are called to teach our children; however, let us never miss out on any opportunity to let them teach us!