Paul was fully committed to his goal in Christ that is, reaching anybody and everybody with the gospel. He did not go through life “as uncertainty” or “as one that beateth the air”, he had a specific goal and exercised discipline in his work.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
To reach that goal, though, would not be easy. Paul saw it as a serious task that would require strict discipline and self-control. He underscored this by comparing the Christian life and ministry with an athletic race. This analogy would be easy for the church in Corinth to understand because of the games that were held in their city ever every two years.
These games were a big deal, unlike our modern-day athletic events, those ancient athletes only won a prize if they took first place. The athlete either won the race or he went home empty-handed. The athlete who ” gave it all” is the one who won.
To do that required utmost discipline. The athletes in Corinth abstained from certain foods, sexual relations, and virtually everything else in order to focus on the race. A time of celebration and rest would come after the race, but for the moment their efforts required sacrifice.
In Paul’s day, the athletes win a crown, which was nothing more than a ceremonial wreath of leaves. That’s quite a contrast to “the prize” that awaits believers who are disciplined in life and ministry to which God has called them. We can be confident that this prize is eternal, incorruptible, and of great value.
Everyone who runs in Christ wins. Paul wanted us to be disciplined and determined to “run, that ye may obtain” the prize that is of immeasurable worth. Paul practiced discipline in how he lived and served lest he himself “should be castaway”. This is not a matter of losing salvation, but missing out on the prize that comes from serving the One who saves us.
To reach our goal in Christ takes disciplined effort and that often means stepping outside our comfort zones. It takes discipline, self-control, and keeping your eyes on the prize and reward, but it worth it.
Excerpts from Bible Studies for Life
- WHY SOW MONEY AS “SEED FAITH” FOR WHAT IS FREELY GIVEN TO YOU IN CHRIST?
- THE LAYING ON OF HANDS: YOU DESERVE GOD’S BEST, DON’T SETTLE FOR LESS
- THE ACT OF IMPARTATION: YOU DESERVE GOD’S BEST, DON’T SETTLE FOR LESS
- UNDERSTANDING THE ANOINTING: YOU DESERVE GOD’S BEST, DON’T SETTLE FOR LESS.
- THE ANOINTING OIL: YOU DESERVE GOD’S BEST, DON’T SETTLE FOR LESS.