There are some verses in St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians that, I believe, are worth giving more serious attention. They talk to us about the need for self-discipline, the serious and consistent pursuit of a goal—things that we usually take lightly because, truth to tell, we do not like to be very serious in our life. We want it the easy way. If we could be totally carefree, that would be much more preferable.
Or we just like to take chances in our life and hope that some luck would fall on us. We fail to realize that while we are free to view our life in any way we want, there is actually an objective way of living of our life here on earth as set by its Creator which we are not free to change.
The Pauline verses are the following: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 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.
“Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 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.” (9,24-27)
We need to inculcate in ourselves this mind-frame of an athlete, a racer, a sportsman out to win a race or a game. We cannot deny that one of the ways we can describe our life is that it is like a race or a sports, since we have a goal to achieve, a finish line to reach.
Again, our life has a meaning and a purpose that is set not by us but by the Creator of our life. God wants to make us his image and likeness, sharers in his divine life. We need to be clear about this real and ultimate meaning and purpose of our life, so we would avoid going about our life without the proper sense of purpose and direction.
We have to develop the proper attitude and skills with regard to this most basic aspect of our life. First of all, we should really ask the ultimate questions of where we come from and where we are supposed to go. Definitely, we just did not come from our parents. We just are not meant to achieve some earthly and temporal goals that by their nature are perishable.
That’s because in our heart of hearts, we have that desire for a happiness that never ends. This is already an indication that we are meant for a life that goes beyond the limits of space and time, of matter and our biological nature. There is something spiritual in us that opens itself to the world of the supernatural, the world of God.
It is our Christian faith that gives us the answers to these questions. And if we go by this faith, then we ought to see to it that we arrange everything in our life so that that ultimate goal of entering into the eternal life of God in full bliss be achieved.
Everyday, with the mind of an athlete, we should make plans and strategies to pursue this goal through the things we handle in our earthly life.*