Several years ago, you might have read about how another country’s athletes were disqualified from competing in the summer Olympics in Brazil. How sad to think that, after years of rigorous training, those athletes were no longer qualified to compete for a highly distinguishable prize, the gold medal. Most athletes revere the gold medal, yet few receive it.
- What are some disqualifications that keep competitors from obtaining a prize?
READ THE WORD: 1 CORINTHIANS 9:24-27 (ESV)
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
- Paul was comparing the life of a believer to an athlete. What are the actions of both the athlete and Paul in this passage?
- For what purpose does the athlete compete?
- What do you think the imperishable wreath represents, and what difference does this kind of reward make, in regard to how we live our lives? What’s the importance of distinguishing a perishable wreath from an imperishable one?
- Following Paul’s example, how should all Christians run the race (vss. 25-27)? If our salvation is secure in Jesus Christ, why did Paul say we need to run in such a way as to win?
- How are you doing in regard to running the race? In what areas of your life do you need to change the way you run so you are not disqualified?
RESPOND TO GOD
We are living for an eternal prize, not a temporary one. Paul recognized his salvation was secure; yet, how he lived and finished his life mattered to God and to winning others to Christ. He disciplined his body and lived with purpose. As you run the race of the Christian life, run in such a way as to win. And look to the One who has gone before us as the perfect example.
- Ask God to show you how to live your life with discipline and purpose.
- Confess where you may be disqualified and then commit to living for him and serving others.