Galatians 2 20a I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
All serious athletes understand the importance of diet and nutrition when it comes to their athletic performance. It is obvious that an athlete is more likely to be tired and underperform if they do not get enough calories, carbohydrates, fluids, vitamins & minerals, and proteins.
This concept of athletes disciplining themselves, in regard to their diet, dates back thousands of years. The Apostle Paul even referenced it when referring to the Isthmian games (an ancient sporting even that was similar to the Olympics). The Isthmian competitors actually had to take an oath that they had been training for ten months, and that they had given up certain “delightful foods” in their diet to enable them to endure the competition. Paul wrote: 25 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. (1 Corinthians 9:25). These competing athletes would forego tasty food for food that would nourish them.
A wise athlete will not starve their body of necessary nutrients, and in the same way a wise Christian will not starve themselves of spiritual nutrients. One way in which we can starve as Christians is through lack of prayer.
Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest wrote: “we hear it said that a person’s life will suffer if he doesn’t pray, but I question that. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished not by food, but by prayer” (MUFHH, August 28). There is scriptural support for Chambers’ thinking as we see in today’s key scripture from Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia, where he writes: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). So, if Christ is living in us and we choose not to pray, we malnourish the life of Christ in us.
Keep in mind the central part of Jesus’ life here on earth. It was not his miracles, it was not his mentoring of the disciples, but rather his continual conversations with his father in heaven. We constantly see Jesus taking off to pray to his father. When the Bible writer Luke described Jesus’ prayer life, he said: 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:16). How much more do we, as simple men and women, desperately need continual communion with God in heaven?
I frequently see this very thing at work in my life. I get busy and find little or no time to pray and the end result is always the same. I begin to struggle spiritually, the fruits of the spirit are less visible, and sin becomes more prevalent in my life. I have begun to starve the life of Christ in me. There is only one solution – returning to a life of prayer, and once again nourishing the life of Christ in me.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:18).