Train like an athlete

July 26, 2012 | 5 comments

So, are you running the race of life to win?
This quote from the apostle Paul arrested my attention:
“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.”  (I Cor.9:25-27)


Is your body disciplined? Is your body a servant and not a master? Is your body obedient to the spiritual demands of the moment? Is your body running smoothly, operating efficiently, and humming along quietly without glitch, objection or trouble? It can be.


In Christian Science, a student learns not to focus on the body, on matter, material objectives, goals and aims. A matter-focus detracts from a Spirit-focus, takes thought away from God and creates a feeling of separation, even alienation, from God, the infinite divine Love that supplies all needs.


But in this demonstration of Life in Spirit, there is also the simultaneous need to be sure thought is not lazily, apathetically, or ignorantly cultivating life in matter, in the body. This error manifests itself in the many different ways mortal mind seeks comfort in the flesh; for example, through over-indulgence of appetite, gluttony, becoming a couch-potato, idling hours away doing nothing, excess entertainment of the senses or pursuit of self-gratification, constantly seeking pleasure through the senses, and so on. These indulgences of sense can lead to a body that feels out of control, is not disciplined, obedient and humming along smoothly.


Paul tells us to discipline our bodies like athletes.


A successful athlete trains hard, puts in long hours, focuses thought on a very specific objective, stays focused, and works, works, works, until they reach their goal.

Yet, I don’t believe Paul means take up a physical regimen to discipline the body. Nowhere does he talk about lifting weights at the gym, running five miles a day, or completing 50 push-ups. He is writing about a spiritual discipline, a metaphysical discipline of the mind that brings thought strictly into line with truth and thus the body right behind it.


Paul was a focused man. He knew his goal. He knew his Master. He knew his God. He knew what he wanted to accomplish in his ministry. And he knew what was not worth putting time and effort into. He focused all his energy, time and hard work into reaching his spiritual goal of preaching the gospel, healing the sick and bearing witness to Christ. And the effect of his strong spiritual discipline was to bring his body into submission of fulfilling those spiritual goals. His body was a servant, not a master, to his spiritual objectives.


Mary Baker Eddy caught the right essence of exercising spiritual dominion over the body in this message,


“Take possession of your body, and govern its feeling and action. Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good. God has made man capable of this, and nothing can vitiate the ability and power divinely bestowed on man.” (S&H 393:10)


“Take possession of your body…” equals “take possession of your thinking.”


We take possession of our thinking by letting God take possession of our life activity, by yielding to the one Mind, serving the one God, pursuing spiritual objectives and aims, getting focused on Spirit and demonstrating the power and authority of the one Mind over every circumstance we face.


Train like an athlete today. Keep your thought strictly in line with Truth. Serve God, not self. Eliminate flabby, lazy, fearful, wasteful and unproductive thinking. Exercise thought to be spiritually inspired, uplifted and worthwhile. The body will fall into line with the harmony and order that pervades the thought that governs it. Disciplined thought shapes a disciplined body.


5 thoughts on “Train like an athlete”

  1. Thank you, Evan for this inspiration. It is uplifting and chocked full of right ideas. These ideas serve to bless and heal the one who holds them and the community/world.

  2. More food for thought! Thanks Evan!

    From “Teaching and Addresses on Christian Science ~ Edward Kimball, CSB

    Bodily Activity Normal and Necessary
    It has been declared by medical thought that Christian Scientists distain all care of the body, and all exercise and hygienic precautions and measures, and will therefore show the consequence of bodily inactivity by means of incomplete elimination. This leads me to say something which I hope you will not misconstrue. We are yet in what I call a transitional stage, but there will never be a time when bodily activity will not be proper. Scientifically considered, the body is manifested through action or inaction. A natural freedom and dominion on the human plane may well manifest itself in a normal bodily activity.

    Do Not Force What you Have Not Demonstrated
    A Scientist is liable, through misapprehension, to try to take a position through force which has not been gained through demonstration. I suggest to you, not a recourse to the ordinary forms of exercise that are indulged in for the cure of sickness, but that you remember that there is no advantage in an unsymmetrical growth whereby a person becomes physically one-sided. We are not yet where we should not use some care to breathe what is called pure air, and drink pure water, and eat what is regarded as wholesome food; to be temperate and moderate; and to realize that it is more temperate to manifest a reasonable amount of physical activity than it is to sit around the house all the time in a condition of bodily inactivity or stagnation. I do not think that a practitioner is doing the best that can be done who sits in a house all the time treating the sick, without fresh air or free activity, unless he can demonstrate perfect nutrition and elimination according to the law of Mind.

    Wiser To Refrain from Inactivity
    In the same sense that Mary did well to protect Jesus by taking him to Egypt, it may be needful for the Scientist to get out of the storm. In the same sense that some people avoid the use of tea and coffee because they do not want to be constantly handling the mortal mind law which pertains to the use of tea and coffee, so may a Scientist refrain from inactivity rather than contend against a law which is incidental thereto. I conceive it to be in the line of progress to show forth by demonstration a constantly improving human situation, rather than by a form of human deterioration.

    Spiritual Activity Not Manifest in Physical Stagnation
    I once heard a Scientist say that an orchid is the most spiritual flower, because it feeds on air. Now there is no spiritual food other than Spirit. Air is no more spiritual than potatoes, and it is in the line of progress for a human being who cannot digest his food because of error to gain the spiritual insight which enables him to digest his food. We are not under the stress or necessity of distaining nature and normal things of what is called nature. What we need is not distain, but dominion. Spiritual activity will not at this stage manifest itself in physical stagnation.

  3. Wow! Thanks for these wonderful insights.. These are very helpful to really put Christian Science in the right perspective. I always thought Christian Science was very one sided until reading these today. I have to say when I think of Paul he definitely was not physically one-sided or concerned about physical activity because he was constantly on the run preaching the gospel. Everywhere he went he did it on foot where as today it is a lot different. He definitely was not lazy. Even more so today people dont have to go anywhere to preach the gospel… They do it form their computer. Definitely something to be alert too! Thanks

  4. 1st Timothy 4: 8 says the whole thing. “Exercise profiteth little.” Then it goes on to say that exercising your spitual understanding will profit you more. I agree, you don’t sit on a couch and do nothing, but spiritual understanding has to be behind it.

  5. Thanks Evan, I have orinted this off for my colleagues to see in the Olympic Reading Room in London. Those verses have stayed with me for some time. We are pretty busy and today is the start of the Olympic Games. Edmund from London.

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