Compete To Win!

1 Corinthians 9 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.

As mentioned in my previous two posts, Paul uses running, competing and boxing as effective analogies of the Christian life. Today I want to look at verse 26 from the passage at the end of the ninth chapter in 1 Corinthians. We as believers must always have in mind that “we do not wrestle (another powerful analogy) against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places”  Ephesians 6:12.  Let’s not forget this as we live out life whether it is a brief few moments of solitude, hanging out with your kids, spending time with your wife, customer facing time or in a meeting with your boss. They are not your enemy and competitor!

A very significant word in verse 26 is the word, “aimlessly.” As competitors, I believe there are always two key focuses in the race that we must run as Christians. The first focus is to know your competitor. If you are running against a foe who has a really good kick at the end of the race, you need to make sure that you are a winning distance ahead of him/her at the back end of the race. Or, if your foe seeks to overpower you from the very beginning and intimidate you throughout the race, you need to run at your very fastest pace from the very beginning and maintain until the end. How do we fight our spiritual battles? Are we even cognizant of our enemy’s tactics? Let’s look at several of his tactics: he shoots fiery darts at us to get us totally off our game. He creates noise like a “roaring lion” to intimidate us. Other times, he is subtle, tempting us, deceiving us and his final kick of the race is to accuse us. He has a really good kick. Let’s also realize his tantalizing tactics of the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and pride of life. We have to be watchful! We cannot run “aimlessly.”

Paul uses another analogy of boxing. “Do not box as one beating the air.” When you box, every punch must have purpose. And, you must always have your guard up so that when you throw a punch you do not leave yourself vulnerable for a counter punch. The scripture tells us to be “watchful and alert” always. Never drop your guard! If you do, you will end up picking yourself off the floor or someone else will!

Let’s never forget to be confident and not to fight in an “already defeated” way. The Bible states in 1 John 4:4Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.  2 Corinthians 10:3-6 states that our weapons are powerfully able to demolish our opponent’s strongholds.
The Christian life is not a sedentary life. You cannot take a day off! So, run with purpose and intentionality. When you box, be mindful and measured with every punch. Be confident because of our victory in Jesus. Amen!

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