Tag: run to win
Scripture reading for July 17th: 1st Corinthians 9
Some people at Corinth were questioning the methods of Paul and Barnabas as apostles of Christ. Paul was trying to help them understand how in his freedom in Christ, he sought to serve all men in order to reach them with the Gospel. He and Barnabas certainly had their ‘rights’ to earn a living from preaching the Gospel. Those that were helped or converted should give support to those who minister. “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” (Deuteronomy 25:4; 1st Corinthians 9:9)
But Paul chose to limit his freedoms and rights so as not to hinder the Gospel message. “But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.” (1st Corinthians 9:12) Paul preached the gospel voluntarily because of his calling from Christ. He wanted to offer it free of charge instead of receiving support. “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. . . . I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” (1st Corinthians 9:22-23) God would repay him and the souls saved would be his reward!
Paul likened his life as a missionary to a man running in a race. “Do you know that in a race all the runners urn, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize!” (1st Corinthians 9:24) The prize for Paul was a crown of life that would last forever! He would run the race of faithful preaching to win the ultimate prize! Are you running to win in your race?
Scripture reading for August 15th: 1st Corinthians 9:20-10:14
Paul’s sole motive was to win the most people as possible. He had purposely not taken support from those he ministered to in order to win more of them. Next he told of his strategy to continue to reap a big harvest. He was not just doing things to be busy, but had a plan he was working on!
“To the Jews, I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the Gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” (1st Corinthians 9:20-23)
Paul loved God and loved God’s people. He was open to live his life in a way that would have maximum impact on the most people possible. In order to reach people, we must relate to people. For the sake of the Gospel, we can lay aside some of our liberties and identify with those who are weak or struggling. In doing so, we can preach and speak into their lives.
He viewed his life like a race in which he was running to get a prize. In the athletic contests of that day, many runners ran to get a crown of flowers that would soon fade away. But in the race for souls to enter the kingdom of heaven, the crown was permanent! (1st Corinthians 9:24-25) Paul disciplined himself and brought his mind and body into obedience in order to accomplish his task of reaching the Gentiles. He was focused on this task and did not want to be disqualified for failing to finish the race!
How is your focus on finishing your spiritual race? Are you aware of the eternal prize awaiting those who finish well? Are you disciplining your body and mind to focus on the task ahead? The eternal crown awaits all who finish in faith!