“But I keep under (discipline) my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (disqualified).”I Corinthians 9:27
I left my old retail job and was headed to a job I was really excited about. I had spent almost six years in retail and I was in need of a change. Gray Thursdays and Black Fridays weigh on a person, and I looked forward to having weekends off. I had started my retail job with an air of arrogance, and I really thought I would move up the ladder quickly. My ladder was more vertical than anything, and I did not go up, but just kept going forward. I complained about a lot of things, and I often bucked against change that was constant in that world. I was quick to voice my opinion and my attitude was not always the greatest. I was not perceived in high regards by upper management, and I had dug myself quite a hole. I was humbled by the job as time wore on, and I tried desperately to dig my way out of the hole I created. I determined to learn from this and not to create the same negative reputation for myself at my new job.
I started at my new job and had the biggest smile on my face as I was so grateful to be there. I tried to be positive about everything because I was looking toward the future and not just the present day. I did not want to forget the answered prayer, and I did not want to repeat the mistakes I made before. I was a new man at my new job, and I was seen as a positive person. There were 16 in my training class, and we were divided into groups of two and assigned a manager. Our new managers met with us one-on-one and asked us a series of questions about ourselves and what we wanted to do. My manager ask me what “my red boat was”, essentially, what motivated me to come to work and what exactly my goals were. I paused, and then stated I wanted to be promoted to the injury department, go to manager candidate school, and then be promoted to a manager. She smiled at me and said that I was ambitious as it seemed like I had it all planned out. I told her I was no spring chicken, so I did not have much time to make things happen.
My goals did not work out in the time frame I wanted, but God opened all those doors for me in His time. I found myself in the injury department, at manager candidate school, and then finally becoming a manager. God has blessed me in my new job, and I am grateful for His hand upon me. God taught me to put myself into subjection to my new employer, and He taught to watch my attitude. I wish I could say I never complained, but my focus was to be Christ-like in my new job and company, and I set out to be different. I did not want to dig myself that hole like I had before, and I wanted the people I worked with to see something different in me. I realized God did not give me this job just to have a new position, but He gave me this job to impact those I work with for all of eternity.
The Apostle Paul disciplined his body and withheld himself from the flesh and things that his flesh desired to do. He had a single goal in mind and that was to please Christ. He did not just want to start strong and fizzle out, but he wanted his life to count for Jesus Christ. He knew this world was not worth obeying his flesh, and he did not want to be disqualified as a servant of his Lord and Savior. In the Christian life, we should have three commitments as Lutzer points out in How to Win the Inner War. 1. Commitment to God in Christ 2. Commitment to the body of Christ 3. Commitment to the work God has given you to do.
Where are you today in these three commitments? Do you bring your body into subjection or do you give yourself over to the pleasures of this world? Do you have your eyes set on eternal goals or are your goals temporal and short-sighted? I long to hear the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant”. I want to accomplish what God has put me on this earth for, and I desire to do the work He has called me to do. Life is short. May we not be disqualified, but may we remain faithful to our God.