Waiting his turn in line with the other competitors at his university‘s Olympic size pool, Charles secured his swim cap and goggles and leaned over stretching out his hamstrings. His natural forte, the butterfly, was up next and a race he always finished first. This meet verified how much more training he needed to do in order to defeat the opposing team at next month’s finals. The added momentum of their newer members was clearly a threat to his team’s reining championship. His school had come out on top the last three years and he planned a definite repeat performance.
After three troubling high school years filled with lack of motivation and direction, parental conflict and falling in with the wrong crowd, Charles had experienced a profound change of heart and mind the summer before his senior year when a neighborhood friend was suddenly killed in a drunk-driving accident. That incident spoke to him like nothing had before. It was then that he drove a stake in the ground to live his life purposely making the most of every gift God had given him. And that included his favorite sport of competitive swimming.
When Charles made up his mind about something that was it. No turning back. As the swim team captain this year, he trained hard and gave it all he had not only for himself, but in memory of his lost friend and as an example to the other team members. He made the decision to shave his body hair to maximize his speed. Furthermore, he took faithfully the supplements Coach Harris had recommended, worked out with weights according to the coach‘s instructions, watched weekly footage of the opposing team’s swim meets, stuck to a special diet, kept a strict sleep schedule, and avoided unnecessary drama with his friends, all to ensure full opportunity in reaching his goals.
“Char-lay, my man! What’s up?” Pete slurred with a smile, bobbing his head wrapped in a red bandana, and raising his palm for a high-five.
“What’re you doing here?” queried Charles soberly, taking a step back.
“Pickin’ up my boss’ son after soccer. Just sneakin’ in to use the head,” explained Pete.
“It’s down there to the left,” pointed Charles. “Where you working?”
“Flip Burger,” answered Pete. “I’ll get back to school one of these days,” he added, his dark eyes dodging Charles’.
“Right,” said Charles rubbing his hair dry with the towel.
“So, what’s up with you this weekend, Dude?” Pete asked, his volume escalating, “Ya making the ‘rounds?!” His face held a smirk of mischief while he rubbed his hands together.
“Get out of here, man. I’m through with all that,” Charles quipped, his bright eyes throwing a brief a look of disgust at the memories, “late nights, major hangovers, chick drama, failing grades—-forget it.”
“Dude! You gotta be kiddin’ me! What happened to my par-tay man?” Pete goaded, mocking him slightly.
“I grew up. That’s what happened.” answered Charles with conviction as he turned around, towel in hand, and continued toward the locker room. “See ya,” he added with a tone of finality.
“You don’t know what you’re missin‘, man!” Pete called to him, holding his hands out attempting to entice him. “Come-on!” he pressed.
Charles slung the damp towel over his shoulder. With a cold glance toward Pete he swung open the locker room door and let it close hard behind him.
Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
1 Corinthians 9:27
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
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead
2 Timothy 2:22
Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness.
1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.