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In preparing to fight Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali knew Frazier was very strong and could easily beat him; so he prepared for the fight by submitting his body to a lot of pain. During the fight, sure enough, Frazier was strong and relentless, but after dishing out punishment to Ali for eight rounds, he got tired. That’s when Ali delivered the punch that gave him the victory. The Apostle Paul stressed that discipline and purpose were key in living the Christian life. Using the analogy of running a race, he says, in 1 Cor. 9, “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 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.” It is true that God saves us by faith alone; but as followers of Jesus the Christ, we dedicate ourselves to be excellent in everything we do. We engage in Bible study, worship, and the exercise of our spiritual gifts. In addition, we discipline our bodies. We seek to stay healthy and in shape so we can serve the Lord.

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