In several New Testament biblical passages, Paul uses a runner competing as a metaphor for how we as Christians should live. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 is one of these and is a challenging passage. 24 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. 25 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. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
We are going to deal with verse 24 alone today. Paul challenges us in this verse as believers to make a choice. Are we going to run for fun or we going to run to win the prize? He states clearly to run to win to win the prize. “Choice” can be a tough word. For a Christian to grow, we have to make good choices. Here is the problem. When you choose you lose. You gain something but you lose something. Maybe what you lose is a habit, maybe it is a change in your normal daily habits, maybe it is a change in your schedule, maybe it is a change in attitude, maybe it is ridding yourself of addiction, maybe it is losing who you hang out with, maybe it is changing your jobs….You lose something. However, Paul as a good, Godly coach demands us to choose to “run in such a way as to get the prize.”
Paul states this in another way in Philippians 3:13&14 “One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Paul made a gigantic choice. A choice to shed himself from a former way of living and “press on toward to the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Matthew 16:25 puts things in perspective for the believer with a strong, poignant comment… 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. One alternative is comfortable. The other is eternal.
You have a choice…run for fun or run to win the prize?