Greetings In the Name of the Lord:
1 Corinthians 9:24 (NLT)
Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!
Anyone that knows me well can tell that I am a sports fanatic. Whether it is football, basketball, baseball, or whatever I have always been crazy about sports. This comes to me, quite honestly, from my Mom who never missed a game. That is perhaps one reason why I love the writings of Paul so much, because he talked a lot about sports. He often referred to the Christian life as a race. One of the concepts about sports that he touches on in this verse is that we play to win. Herman Edwards, former coach of the New York Jets, is famous for a press conference quote in which he said, “You play to win the game!” Well that is exactly what Paul is saying. We don’t come into the Christian life so that we can lose, we come into it with the idea of winning. No athlete enters a contest with the idea of “boy I sure hope I lose today.” On contrary, athletes go into an event thinking, “We are going to win!” Paul’s main point here is run to win. That may seem like an odd statement for his to make, and we might ask the question “well how else would we run? However, Paul’s statement is much more involved. We have to consider in order to run to win we have to be at our best. We have to train vigorously and push ourselves to do a little bit more today than we did yesterday. We have to make sure that we are eating the right things and getting an adequate amount of rest. Furthermore, we have to stay away from things that will prevent us from doing our best. So what does this have to do with being a Christian? The answer to that is plenty! We have to train ourselves to be righteous and holy people. This involves time in prayer, study or the Word, and involvement in Church. Just as an athlete cannot do whatever he wants and expect to be a good athlete, we cannot do whatever we want and expect to live a victorious Christian life. As Paul told his young apprentice Timothy, “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come” (1 Tim. 4:8). So do what it takes; run to win!