Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 1 Corinthians 9: 24 – 25
Kel recently sent the cutest picture of Miles and his friends, Matthew, on their bikes, Stephanie on her scooter, and Cole on his big wheel. Instead of the Tour de France, they decided to name it the Tour de Falgar (from the name of their street), and Cole said he was the pace car and would get the race started! They looked as if they were having so much fun! And we all know how everyone loves a good race!
When Paul wrote the above verse in his letter to the church in Corinth, he knew the analogy of a race was something his readers could relate to, as the Olympic Games were founded in Greece and the Isthmian Games were held in Corinth every 2 years. He knew they would understand the concept behind the purpose of a race – to do your best to win the prize!
To accomplish this goal, they would know that a participant would need to become more disciplined by practicing their skill and undergoing strict training. They would need the strong desire to win, and they would especially need the motivation to work hard and keep their eyes on the prize.
In this verse, he is using this analogy to remind these early believers and all the ones to follow, that just as these athletes must do, we must become committed to following Jesus Christ throughout our lives. In order to do so, he knew we would need strong spiritual training, the deep desire to follow Him with all our hearts, and the motivation to live out our Christian principles.
To be more disciplined, he knew we would need to stay connected to God and to strive to be more Christ like. In order to do so, we must pray, read His Word, and spend time with Him. We must fellowship with other believers to encourage each other and to seek ways to serve others. He knew that just as an athlete must have a desire to win, we must have the desire to know that we are living our lives in a way that would be pleasing to God, to have a relationship with Him, and to share His love and grace with others.
We too must work hard and keep our eyes on the “prize”. We must have the motivation to be the best we can be. We can’t settle for just being in the “race” by proclaiming ourselves to be a Christian. We must do more than just showing up. We must know Him, learn His Word, and live His truths, and we must seek to help others to become committed followers of Christ. If we do so, then we will be victorious, and the “prize” and “crown” will be ours – the gift of eternal life with Him.
Our most gracious and loving God, thank you for making your Word so simple for us to understand. You desire only one thing, and that is, that our hearts be fully committed to loving and serving you through your Son, Jesus Christ. Help us to keep our eyes focused on you and the prize before us. We thank you for your saving grace and for the gift of eternal life. Amen