When your soul is denied Spiritual Training, it continues to make choices of convenience that disqualifies rather than principle of victory.
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
1 Corinthians 9:25
Whenever you give in to moral fatigue, and you lose your spiritual agility — your capacity to exercise practical wisdom and do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason is weakened.
A flabby, wasted spiritual physique limits your ability to independently make choices at all; you will Never be free from the control moral agent and environmental inducement .
Therefore, train yourself to be godly. For “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”
1 Timothy 4:8
In training the soul, through subjection to the Spirit, you strengthen your self-control: you gain the ability to harness your energies towards deliberately chosen ends, to choose long-term ideals over short-term impulses, to decide how you will act, regardless of the circumstances.
Spiritual training makes you the master of your will and actions, and not the slave of them.
No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
1 Corinthians 9:27 (NIV)
As such, you will begin to enjoy the freedom of discipline.Or as former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink succinctly puts it: “Discipline equals freedom.
As a consequence, your options increase; your potential field of action widens.
Spiritual training is essentially the act of intentionally breaking down the soul with denial and discomfort in order that it can be rebuilt stronger and better than before.
Without this denial and deliberate discomfort, no improvement can take place.
The more we resist the gravitational force of our appetites, the stronger and more iron-clad our character becomes.
Physical and Spiritual Strength Require Effort, and Pain.
You must deliberately prioritize the practice of spiritual disciplines and look for opportunities to serve that the untrained and unprepared soul would miss, or spurn.
Training the soul requires the same kind of encompassing commitment and the same submission to the tearing and repairing of your spiritual muscles.
Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.
1 Corinthians 9:26
You must kill your native laziness, and embrace a certain level of pain.
Denying a lower appetite to fulfill a nobler aim hurts; It’s a noble pain.
For virtue to live, you must die to the self.
This process of striving for Spiritual ideals, failing, and getting back up again — of ever trying to be a spiritual man — creates endless tears in the tissue of your flesh.
Your flesh will always scream to give in to indulgence.
Your flesh will beg, con, and manipulates you to be liberated from the strictures of discipline.
Your flesh resonates thus, “Just this once won’t matter,” “You deserve this,”..
No matter the lies one tells oneself in the heat of crisis, at the height of temptation, the truth is that nothing can be sculpted without pressure, nothing can be changed and rebuilt without effort and pain.
Spiritual Strength Require Consistency and Habitual Practice.
You can never rest on your laurels, on past spiritual experiences…
If you don’t grow in grace, you diminish in it. If you don’t use it, you lose it.
Each day we must choose and re-choose to earnestly engage in spiritual disciplines and practices — despite changing circumstances, fluctuating feelings, and encroaching setbacks.
In the contest for virtue, faith, and spiritual growth, there’s no standing still; if you’re not striving forward, you’re degrading back.
When spiritual dryness sets in, when setbacks arise, when temptation grows acute, you can choose to throw in the towel, or you can hold to your principles and keep pushing towards the distant finish line.
It’s not an easy contest, but if you, the spiritual athlete that you are perseveres, you can say with the apostle Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”