In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Paul uses the analogy of an athlete getting himself ready to run the race with the goal of winning the prize. This athlete will go to great lengths to prepare for the race especially in the prize is something of great value. Imagine an athlete who sets his sights on winning the Olympic Gold medal.
What would his plan of action be? First, he would start training for the race about four years in advance. He would forgo many of the activities that give him pleasure so that he would have more time to devote to his daily exercise and practice routine. He would eliminate many of his favorite foods because they may be counterproductive to the fitness regimen that he has established. He will put himself through a very rigorous and disciplined lifestyle being willing to sacrifice many of his desires to prepare his body, physically, emotionally, and mentally in order to win the coveted prize.
We have a much more glorious prize in store for us and yet we are so resistant to eliminate activities, foods, and lifestyle habits that hinder our preparation for the spiritual race. Paul encourages us to exercise ourselves in godliness (1 Timothy 4:8) and to pursue righteousness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness (1Timothy 6:6-12). In Colossians 3:5-17, we are exhorted to put off anger, malice, and filthy language and put on mercy, humility, kindness, and forgiveness.
Ask the Lord to reveal to you the things that you need to eliminate from your life and exercise yourself in things that will make you spiritually fit to run the race. It will be worth it all when you receive that glorious prize—the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.