“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”
1 Cor 9:24-25
For the past few days, we’ve reminded and stirred ourselves up with the instructions we received at the beginning of the year. Today, we continue in that light.
The word of God shapes our ideas and disposition. The word shows us both the will of God and the kind of commitment we are to exude. It doesn’t just show us the ‘what’ and leave the ‘how’ to us. It goes on to show us how!
What is the will of God? What does it mean to show an athletic commitment to the gospel? Apostle Paul answers both. In his second letter to the believers at Corinth, he informs the believers of God’s will for all who believe.
2 Corinthians 5:15
And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
Verse 18 expatiates further, It says “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;”
2 Corinthians 5:18
In his first letter, he had spoken of the attitude and commitment he discharged for the ministry he had received. Our opening scripture reveals him encouraging the believers at Corinth to “run, that they may obtain an incorruptible crown”
1 Corinthians 9:26-27
“I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
One crucial thing to take note of is that he isn’t speaking about salvation. He is talking about ministry and rewards. Paul uses sprints – racing to teach us about commitment to ministry.
He insinuates that while a 100 meter race will last for just 9-12 seconds, it take years of intense training. The athletes put their body under subjection temporarily for a reward, though temporal. He, however wants us to do same for spiritual exercises and service in the Lord, for a reward that is eternal.
This is why I say “Many have sworn commitment to ministry, but only a man given to spiritual devotion can keep his word”. This is the athletic commitment we are to show!
Say This: I display an athletic commitment to the gospel. I’m not influenced by how I feel, but by the word! I am given to prayer, to study and to evangelism!