The Joy of the Prize

What is it about the fourth day in a row of exercise that makes it so difficult? My motivation always seems to wane on that day. I had awakened from a great night’s sleep (which has been a rare thing lately, but that’s another story), which means I got up later than usual. Since I didn’t have as much time in my morning, I reasoned I could skip the exercise — but I knew that it’s good for me. But since the scale was showing progress, what would one day hurt? Of course, the reason the scale was showing progress was because I had been exercising. If you’ve ever seen the movie, “The Emperor’s New Groove,” you’ll know what I mean when I tell you I felt like I was in a battle between siding with a good shoulder angel or a bad one! Well, the good angel won and I did my exercise. Afterwards I felt great both physically and because I had overcome and pushed through the “war”. I had the prize of joy.

Jesus knew the joy of the prize and that is where His focus was while enduring the cross (see Hebrews 12:2). In that same verse we are instructed to fix our eyes on Jesus, our ultimate prize, in order to endure. Paul tells us in I Corinthians 3:10-15 of other prizes, too, for those who persevere and do things that are worthy in God’s eyes. The battle to persevere is a hard one with bigger attacks than my little mind battle this morning. But the secret to staying the course is to remember the rewards that will come, and even more to know of the greatest prize of seeing our wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and to know that He will be pleased with us. My exercise gave me a little taste of the joy of a prize. May that small experience remind me to keep fixing my eyes on the prizes that God wants to give me at the end of this life’s journey, and the joy that I will experience then for having endured through the big battles of life.

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