The Discipline of the Athlete

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. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 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.
- 1 Corinthians 9:25-27

The desert fathers and mothers teach us that we must be disciplined in order to follow God. All athletes are training for a purpose, but we train for an eternal purpose. In this Sunday’s message, David Chan teaches us what it looks like have the discipline of an athlete as we follow God.

To be a disciple of Jesus means we need to be disciplined.

  • All athletes are disciplined in their training.
  • If we want to follow Jesus, it takes dedication to our training. It will cost us something.
  • Jesus tells us to deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow him. We have to deny ourselves things in a spirit of discipline to honor God.

Discipline is formed through training in the desert.

  • Our natural state is to conform to the pattern of the world. But Jesus calls us to be people who are formed by his ways, rather than the world’s.
  • Jesus himself withdrew into the wilderness to pray.
  • We have to train ourselves to be able to be formed by the holy ways of God. Being formed by the ways of the world is east, but being formed by the ways of God takes discipline.

It is the Holy Spirit who empowers us with the discipline of the athlete to go through every season in life.

  • We cannot run our race alone. We need the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • We have the whole armor of God to strengthen us in our weakness.
  • The Holy Spirit will help us and strengthen us, but we cannot resist his coaching and guidance.

Dinner Party Questions

  • What do you feel God has called you to lay down and deny yourself in order to follow him more closely?
  • What role do spiritual disciplines or practices play in your life?
  • How can you rely more on the Holy Spirit’s guidance this week?

Brooklyn Dinner Party Questions

  • What is the desert teaching you most in this season of your life? (Presence, freedom, healing, compassion, rest)
  • What role do spiritual disciplines or practices play in your life? How can you use these practices to build a desert for yourself?
  • How have you seen the difference in training and trying in your life? Why is it important to train ourselves when it comes to discipline?

Brooklyn Message Audio

the messages