“I beat my body and make it my slave..”
I literally don’t remember at what point I came across this in scripture, but it has been on repeat in my head ever since—especially between the start of my workout to its sweaty finish.
In 1st Corinthians at the end of chapter 9, Paul is talking about the slavehood of an apostle—how he’s dedicated his life to winning souls. Here’s where you’ll find a popular verse about “running in such a way as to get the prize”. I feel like I’ve never really heard the verses that followed, possibly because I see the word “run” and check out. I kid. But verse 26+27 is what I can’t seem to look away from.
“Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave…”
I understand Paul is speaking of God’s great commission here. I know this is an example of Paul loving God and loving people. Perhaps, just maybe though, it reveals a great truth that can be applied to life—and in my case, my health and fitness.
Whyyyyyy do we just assume life SHOULD be easy? Why do we live in a world where we quote Romans 8:28 and the good plans He has for us, but literally a few verses down from that says, “for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”—and we don’t make that one our memory verses or slap it on a triblend shirt?
We literally strive to build up comforts around us. How can we make this day easier? Coffee. It wasn’t easy? Pizza. Or dessert. Or wine. I am the queen of comfort seeking. I’m not judging. I am the problem.
I don’t even think we consciously do this, but we are trained to expect, hope and pray for easy. I mean, if we paid attention for one second in scripture we would see all the greats had a life marked with suffering, culminating with the greatest sacrifice (and suffering) on the cross.
Yet here I am, saying no to drive thru windows and expecting all the weight to melt off with ease. The other day in class, our trainer was warming us up, she went down for a squat and groaned in pain. It hit me. Workouts aren’t EASY for her either. It was Wednesday and she said she had done 20 classes. That’s not easy. She beats her body and makes it a slave.
I realize I’ve unknowingly prescribed to this notion that other people have it “easy”. That lie is damaging and it cheats us of so many things, namely joy but it also cheats us out of self esteem—thinking they possess something we don’t. We want what they have. We covet. We fantasize about it. What we don’t see is what sacrifice and hard work it took for them to get there.
Paul picked his hard. He disciplined his body toward a goal. Trainer gal picked her hard. She is disciplined. Jen can pick hard. I can be disciplined. I can do hard things. (You can too.)
So I guess what I’m trying to say is, there is power in not looking for easy. There is strength in expecting the hard. There is peace when we aren’t scared of the hard. And there is life change that occurs when we believe we were made for the hard.