1 Corinthians 9 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“Do you not know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Now everyone who competes exercises self control in everything. However, they do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly, or box like one who beats the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Believe it or not, I was a college athlete. I ran NCAA Division 1 cross country, as well as indoor & outdoor track. I was insanely competitive. My Junior year in college, I didn’t lose a singe cross country race until our conference meet. Did you know most athletes compete their whole college careers and never win a single event? By the way, if I tried to run a mile today, I would get very sick and die!
All that is to say that I know what the Apostle Paul is talking about, in terms of competing to win a temporary prize. To this day, I have no idea where most of my ribbons and trophies are.
Here’s a secret: running was never a pleasure for me…especially at the college level. It was grueling!! My pleasure was not found in running; it was in winning. To me, there was no other reason to run, except to win.
Paul is comparing these competitive images (of running and boxing) to the passion & focus that followers of Yeshua must have. Paul is saying the” prizes” that believers should strive after will not be obtained in this life. Rather, the prize worth obtaining is a hearty “Well done!” from the Father, once our “race” is finished.
Why do you believe Yeshua suffered for our salvation? Why was it so important to Him that we become saved; and what does life He calls us to look like?
While others may be content, living out their faith for a couple of hours on Shabbat mornings, Paul is exhorting us to a selfless, sold-out 24/7 faith. We are not simply called to wander in & out of congregational services and holiday events. We are called to go into the world, wherever He leads us, and give reason for the hope that is within us!
We are called to love people to the point that it would be utter foolishness, were there no resurrection from the dead. In giving all that we have to all that He is, we are to remain faithful to the end. Many races are won & lost at the tape. It is not enough to run well. We must also prepare, (lit.: “work out” - Philippians 2:12) and be resolved to finish strong!!
~Steve Wiggins, Associate Leader, Worship Leader
Daily Devotional, Sunday, September 8, 2013