I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 1 Corinthians 9:26
Athletes are all completely focused on the task at hand and the achievement of their goal. You don’t see runners going in different directions around the track hoping to cross the line at some stage. You also don’t see boxers flailing their arms about randomly in the hope of hitting something eventually (well, not all the time). Runners have an agreed start point and finish point with a pre-determined path in-between; boxers know exactly where to land that punch. Each has a target and that is where their focus lies.
Focus demands discipline and training. Athletes deny their bodies the normal everyday pleasures in order to obtain the condition that is needed to win the ultimate prize. Faith also demands discipline and training in order to be effective in the Christian race; a race that is not about competition, but about witness. None of us need to run aimlessly. We need to focus our faith and run with conviction and purpose.
Paul’s purpose was to win as many souls as possible for the kingdom of God. The goal was clear, his focus was set and his faith was worked out in the race that he ran.
Our faith not only strengthens and sustains us for the race, it can encourage those running alongside. To run with a clear purpose can be effective in motivating others to focus on theirs.