In It to Win It!

by Caroline Speas

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 - 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. 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. Therefore, I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 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. 

That word “disqualified” means “to be put on a shelf.” The Apostle Paul is one of the last people I would expect to be put on a shelf because his life was of little value! But we all need to stop and ask ourselves if our lives on earth are accomplishing God’s purposes. Imagine a race where there is a group of fit and athletic runners who are totally focused on being the best and doing their best, and then there is a group of out of shape runners who just want to participate in the race. Not win, not do their best. Just run around. That seems kind of ridiculous, doesn’t it? But if I’m not careful, I can be danger of running in the “race” of being a Christian, but only running with the purpose of being forgiven and getting to Heaven. Yes, forgiveness is an amazing gift that God has offered us. And Heaven is a wonderful place we can look forward to! But when we get to Heaven, our whole purpose is going to be to live for Him and not for ourselves. So we should probably prepare for that here on Earth. God doesn’t just want us to participate in Christianity. He wants us to do our absolute best – to be disciplined and determined, and to accomplish what He wants us to. I was convicted when I heard someone teach on this idea recently. She mentioned Paul’s warning that we will be held accountable for our efforts in the race.

2 Corinthians 5:9-10So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

All Christians will be judged for our choices here on Earth – how we used the time He gave us, the bodies He gave us, the minds He gave us, the hands He gave us, and the hearts He gave us. If we are forgiven, we will not face condemnation for our sins, but God will examine how focused we were on the race. So, make it your goal to please Him in all you do. Don’t just run around life aimlessly. Be in it to win it.