1 Corinthians 9
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. (1 Corinthians 9: 24)
Being competitive is sometimes presented in a negative light. Probably because competition can bring out the ‘jerk’ in people. That’s too bad, because in his letter to the Corinthians, Paul is telling them (and us) to lean into that competitive spirit.
Paul is using this as an analogy, by the way, he’s not telling us that we are in competition with other believers. He uses two phrases that I hope will inspire you as you run your race.
Athletes preparing for a big competition don’t eat whatever they want and binge Netflix all day. What do they do instead? They do things that will help them succeed in their goal. (Winning!) Paul’s goal, and ours, is “a crown that will last forever.”
How do we train for eternal life?
The word obey comes to mind. In order to obey we need to really know Scripture. If we want to hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant,” we need to know what the Master expects of us. And we need to do it, even when it’s hard. Just like the athlete in training gets off the couch and goes to practice, even when he’s tired, we need to obey even when it doesn’t make sense to our human sensibilities.
“do not run aimlessly”
If you’ve ever been to a kid’s sporting event, you know that there are players that do not have their head in the game. They are wandering around the field, chatting with friends, maybe even picking flowers in the grass. Adorable.
Not so adorable when it’s adults in an Olympic competition and not cute when we’re talking about forever.
So many of us say that we are sharing our faith by they way that we live our lives. But how much of that is a cop-out because we’re not comfortable evangelizing? If we are actively sharing our faith through our life, we will be intentional in planning ways to do it. We won’t just be going about our life, wandering aimlessly along.
I encourage you today to make a training plan. How are you getting ready for Christ’s return? I also encourage you to make a game plan. How are you looking for ways to share your faith with those around you?