I came across an awesome passage in the Bible. I have read it several times, but the Holy Spirit has been dealing with me in this area of my life so these verses really made a huge impact on me. Some of you are probably dealing with the same thing, so I thought I would tell you what the Holy Spirit has shown me.
It is not always an easy thing to run the Christian race victoriously, and sometimes it is even downright hard. God doesn’t always tell you to do things that are popular or fun, but expects you to walk in obedience to His direction.
It is walking in this kind of obedience that you start to see the REAL Character of God. And as I have started to do that more and more, I don’t want to go back to the way I used to be even if what He tells me to do is hard.
I Corinthians 9: 24-27
24. Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
25. 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.
26. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I not as one that beateth the air.
27.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.
In I Corinthians 9, Paul is talking here about running a race. He gives a comparison to athletes who train for the Olympic races in Greek and Rome. He talks about how disciplined they must become if they expect to win. Even today’s Olympians start training right after one Olympics for the next one four years away. They have rigid diets and exercise programs and do a lot of self-sacrifice for their dream of winning the gold medal.
When Paul told them “run that ye may obtain,” he meant seize, possess, take eagerly, apprehend to win. To obtain means to have your eye on winning at all times, not just placing second, third, or barely making it through the race.
Paul says that the athletes competed for their own glory. They received a crown made of vines that would eventually dry up and die. They would eventually be forgotten even if they were the greatest in their time, but things done for The Kingdom of God will last forever.
Verse 26 – The boxers warmed up for their fight by punching the air with their gloves. They didn’t have a contender so it looked like they were thrashing around not getting anything done. Paul wanted to use this particular phrase of “beateth the air” to get his point across.
Verse 27 – “keep under my body” means to strike under the eye with the fist, make the eye black and blue, to treat with harshness, severity, or cruelty; to subject oneself to self-denial and rigid discipline that all the corrupt passions might be removed
subjection – to reduce to slavery, subdue an enemy, to conquer, to obtain complete victory over
So Paul was telling the Corinthians that it is no small feat to obtain and keep the victory over Satan for the Christian life. It takes discipline and self-restraint to live a life that is holy before God. You can’t just go along with the crowd and expect to be victorious. You must take a stand and make the appropriate sacrifices just like an athlete who wants to win the gold medal. They have their eye on a very real prize at the end of their hard years of training just like the Christian who can look forward to the prize of living a victorious life here on earth with the ultimate prize of Heaven.
Even though I am not overweight, I still have to watch what I eat. I don’t know about you, but many times I want to eat even when I am not hungry. I will stand in front of the cupboard and try to find something, which usually ends up being junk food.
In the United States junk food is everywhere and very easy to obtain, so I have to make an effort to eat a balanced diet each day. It is easy to grab something quick rather than take the time to make a healthy dish that would be much better for my body in the long run.
After a few years of struggling with this issue off and on, God started to reveal to me that I need to take much more seriously the words of I Corinthians 6: 19-20:
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
I have no idea what areas of your life need to be kept “under your body” and in “subjection,” but God knows every detail and what He wants to do to help you win the prize and receive an incorruptible crown. Ask Him to show you areas in your life that need to be brought into subjection and determine to go forward with Him even if it makes you uncomfortable. God has your best interest in mind with everything He wants to accomplish in your life.
Don’t stand in His Way!