The Olympics are a worldwide phenomenon. It seems like for two weeks, everything else is put on hold. There are no other important news stories. Everyone focuses on the competition.
Are you one of those people who loves watching the drama of the Olympics unfold? If so, what excites you about it?
Paul used the backdrop of the Olympics to explain his view of the ministry. Listen to how he puts it.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
1 Corinthians 9:24
In the ministry, we’re competing for the prize. The prize is your destiny in Christ. It should be your reason for living.
The fact is that only one gets the prize. It’s the one who pushes himself out in front and crosses the finish line first. Please understand that I’m not talking about racing against other believers.
No, you’re racing against yourself. Your lazy self, your proud self, your distracted self, and your “all for Christ” self. They’re all running against each other. Run in such a way that you get the prize the Lord has called you to receive.
Paul tells us how this is accomplished.
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. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
1 Corinthians 9:25-27
The first key is strict training versus running aimlessly. We need to focus on our calling in Christ. What is it that the Lord wants you to accomplish? What will it take for you to lay hold of it?
This is something that we need to hear in our generation. We get so distracted by all that’s happening around us. There are so many opportunities to participate in.
I wish it were simply a matter of right and wrong, but it’s not. It’s about what you want to accomplish for eternity.
There’s nothing wrong with eating a hot fudge sundae. However, if you’re training to run a marathon, then it’s not the best food choice. In our ministry, we avoid certain activities, not because they’re wrong, but because they’re counter-productive to what we want to accomplish.
The other issue is beating the air versus beating my body. This makes it clear that we truly are competing against our own selves.
Who is going to be in charge? Will the desires of my flesh determine my destiny? Or will I, instead, let my spirit lead me into God’s perfect will for my life?
These are the things we need to deal with on a daily basis. We put the flesh down and build the spirit up.
Of course, that’s not easy or comfortable. I’m talking about fasting and prayer. Then there’s prayer in the spirit and meditating on the Word of God. I also have to be in right relationship with my fellow believers.
Do I have to do these things in order to be a “good Christian”? Absolutely not.
Unless…your goal is to win the prize of your destiny in Christ.
Question: What is your “strict training” that pushes you toward the prize?
© 2019 Nick Zaccardi