“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.”
I Corinthians 9:24 NKJV
A few weeks ago, a majority of us celebrated a certain Nigerian female athlete who displayed such remarkable agility at an international track and field event. Watching her jump over hurdles and race down the tracks was nothing short of amazing. With the way she ran, it was obvious that she had trained hard for the competitions.
Apostle Paul must have watched similar races in his own time because he used the analogy of athletes to explain how we ought to approach our calling in Christ Jesus. Across his epistles, he had the tendency of likening his efforts to fulfilling his calling in Christ to the efforts put in by athletes to win a prize. (Philippians 2:14-16, Galatians 2:2; 5:7)
Admonishing his protegee Timothy, he said that “if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.” (II Timothy 2:5 NKJV)
Before then, he told him that he must endure hardship! Consider how he explains this in I Corinthians 9:245-27 NKJV:
“…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.”
Dear believer, there’s a way to fulfill your calling! Don’t be half-hearted in your approach. Run well. Go for gold!
Like an athlete who is meticulous about their lifestyle, you cannot afford to entangle yourself with matters that are of no use to your race. If they can run with such passion, if they can subject themselves to self control, coordinated activity and discipline to win a perishable crown, how much more you?
You have a calling. God has strengthened you for it. Go for gold! Your salvation is already intact so what do you have to lose? Remember our mandate is to make disciples of all nations. How much effort do you think that requires?
Bible Reading Plan:
Luke 21:29-38, Hebrews 3, Proverbs 20:16-30, Isaiah 11-13