RUNNING for the IMPERISHABLE CROWN: "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified." (1 Cor 9:24-27)
The Isthmian Games took place in a town near Corinth every two or three years and were second only to the Olympic Games in importance. Paul used these contests to illustrate how we should live the Christian life. In the above passage, Apostle Paul is encouraging us that we should all run in such a way that we may obtain the imperishable crown. How do we run this race of life and get the reward at the end? Below are three things to consider:
- Run purposefully keeping our end in mind: Our Christian life is like a race in which we all have to run to be winners. It demands determination, a definiteness of purpose and a clear understanding of "the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith". (Heb 12:1-2)
- Practice self-control & self-discipline: In our Christian life race, we must practice self-mastery over our wants and desires. The word 'temperate' (v. 25) carries the meaning of ‘self-control’ practiced by athletes who train to win. In order to do that they restrict themselves in all things: their diet, their activities, their associations, and probably even their friendships. One way of practicing self-control is by following this statement: "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any." (1 Cor 6:12)
- Be faithful until the end: Even when there are many reversals in life, we should keep on running. We should run faithfully spurred on with the knowledge that we are running to honor our King and we will receive the imperishable crown from Him. Greater than winning any prize will be hearing our beloved Master telling us: "Well done Son/Daughter, you have done your part".
Today, let us be willing to set aside our self & selfish interests and focus towards our primary goal in life: to obtain the imperishable crown at the end of our life journey!
"Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Phil 3:12-14)