Day 77…1 Corinthians 9:24-27

January 12, 2013 at 3:05 PM 8 comments

I Corinthians 9:24-27: Run to win

Paul called upon the Christians to deny themselves as they looked forward to future reward. Paul compared this to a race, picturing the ancient “games.”

v.24-25, the Greek Olympic games were already operating in Paul’s time but they were 2nd in popularity to the Isthmian games celebrated every two years at Corinth. Athletes would come from all over Greece to win the highest honour “the prize.” To not only win the prize but just to get prepared for the games required “discipline in their training.” Typically for 10 months before the games the athletes denied themselves many ordinary pleasures in order to prepare and be in top condition for the games. But even though “everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize.” This prize was a great honour to the athletes and they would give up everything to get it. Paul told the believers in Corinth to be just like these athletes, however he did not mean that the believers were running AGAINST each other with only ONE winner. Instead he wanted every believer to “run to win.” Every believer should be putting the same effort forward to win an “eternal prize” not like one that “will fade away” like the pine wreath crown the athletes win at the Isthmian games. The eternal prize is not salvation or getting to go to heaven, no those in the race have already been saved through faith in Jesus Christ, no the eternal prize was the crown of life at the end of life where God says “well done, though good and faithful servant.” So the goal was to honour God with our lives by winning the lost and building up the Saints.

v.26-27, Paul’s next words are telling the Corinth believers that not only was he asking them to be self-disciplined but he also practiced what he preached to them. He too had to “discipline [his] body like an athlete, training” to run the race not aimlessly like a boxer who is “just shadowboxing” or punching at the air. But to practice with “purpose in every step”, with a goal in mind–the ultimate goal: honouring God. In the Isthmian games if you broke any rules including the training rules you were automatically disqualified. When Paul says “I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified” he is not talking about the loss of Salvation but loss of reward. The disqualification for an athlete didn’t mean they would loose their citizenship, only their opportunity to win the prize. And Paul didn’t want to loose his reward when he stood for the Judgement Seat of Christ.

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?  Simply I am going to start to “train” for my Christian life. I have already started to eat healthier physically, but now I am also going to do the same spiritually–spend regular times with Jesus each day in both study and prayer, no excuses. To focus on the eternal reward as I stand before Jesus. Also to deny myself anything that will potentially harm me. Stay away from those things I am so easily tempted by.

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Middle names Day 78…1 Corinthians 10:1-11

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