by John Armstrong
It is the start of a new school year; summer vacations are over and people are shifting back into
the regular routines of life. Unless you are a teacher or a young person of school age, Summer
doesn’t mean much in terms of a different routine. Things just continue on as they do all year-
round. I do hope you’ve had some time to relax and recreate during the summer months, but I
understand if you find yourself at this part of the year just keeping on keeping on.
If you find yourself in that place of trying hard to keep on keeping on, I hope you paid attention
to the sermon series on the Psalms this summer. We covered the first twelve psalms and as
Ralph Davis so aptly puts it, these first twelve are all about “the way of the righteous in the
muck of life.” As we begin our new school year and gear back up with Bible studies, new
Sunday school topics, and small groups we want to keep the focus on faithfully continuing in
the way of the gospel. We call that discipleship. It is following Jesus in the everyday rhythms of
That is where we live day in day out, from season to season, and year to year. As we move
through our lives we need to remain intentional about our discipleship or we will have the
tendency to coast. Coasting is never good in the Christian life. Apathy and sin grows well in an
environment of coasting along. Therefore, we pray that God will guard us from an attitude of
coasting. Shift the metaphor to running a race. Paul speaks of this in 1Corinthians 9:24 Do you
not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you
may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a
perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one
beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to
others I myself should be disqualified.
An athlete must be intentional about training and preparation so when they run, they can do so
to their best ability. Paul is telling us to live our lives in Christ in the same way that an athlete in
training lives their life. We must live with intentionality and drive to excel, we must be
disciplined in our discipleship. Discipleship is all about discipline, it is taking up our cross and
following Jesus. As we begin another school year, how are you taking up your cross and
following Jesus? How are you dying to yourself so that Christ may be formed in you? What is
your desire on this matter? Do you want to be left alone or do you want to grow in grace?
How you answer that question will give you a good idea of where you are in your race. If you
want to talk more about these things, please give me a call.