Today’s Scrip-Bit   17 August 2022   1 Corinthians 9:24.

1 Corinthians 9:24.      Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run that ye may obtain.

Wednesday, oh Wednesday! The middle day of the work week, where we catch our second wind, so we can finish the week’s race, strong in Jesus’ name. Yes friends, every week is a sprint race, with life being an overall marathon. And we win them just one day at a time, then one week at a time, with rest and rejuvenation on the weekend, to come back out bursting with confidence and energy on a Monday morning, ready to take on all comers in the race of life, in the mighty and wonderful name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! 

That’s how Bruh Paul characterized the Christian life, like a race, when he told Timothy: ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course (race), I have kept the faith.’ (2 Tim. 4:7) Oh my fellow believers, it’s important that we realize that our Christian faith is indeed a race, and a long one too; one necessitating much faith, sacrifice, and perseverance. It’s definitely not meant for the faint of heart, or the weak in spirit. And we can only run it successfully by having the utmost faith and trust in our Triune Godhead, sincerely believing that through their amazing help and assistance we will eventually be victorious. 

That’s how all the great men and women of God were able to run their difficult races. And though our races today might be somewhat easier than theirs back then, it still necessitates great faith, because the enemy is still out there just chomping at the bit to cut us down and make us useless to Christ, like unflavoured salt or darkness of spirit. Now, listen to how Bruh Paul explains the Christian race to his readers in Corinth. ‘Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run that ye may obtain.’ (1 Cor. 9:24) 

And the scholars tell us that ‘Paul draws on a scene familiar to his Corinthian readers in order to drive home his point. The Isthmian Games were an athletic event known to all of his readers. They were held on alternate summers in the vicinity of Corinth. It was an event not to be missed by anyone of importance in all parts of Greece. As a national institution, it was familiar to his readers as modern football is to most Americans.’ 

I guess those games was the forerunner to our modern Olympic Games. So, since everybody knew of them, the idea of a race was something they would all understand. It’s like Jesus talking about a shepherd to His listeners, something with which they were all familiar. And me talking to us about Christ, whom we all know about. (smile) 

Anyway, after proposing the race idea, Bruh Paul sets it up thus: ‘And every man that striveth for mastery (competes for the prize) is temperate (has self-control) in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible (perishable) crown, but we an incorruptible (imperishable). (1 Cor. 9:25) 

That’s the big difference between the physical and spiritual races friends. The physical one gives us a crown that perishes or can be destroyed by moth or be stolen by thieves. However, the spiritual crown is set up for us in heaven, incorruptible, imperishable, cannot be destroyed or stolen. That’s what makes it so important, and the winning of our earthly race so necessary. 

Consequently, Bruh Paul strenuously advises: ‘I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I. not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under (discipline) my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (be disqualified). (1 Cor. 9:26-27) Ah mih people, as we said earlier on the Christian race is indeed not for the weak in spirit or faint of heart. And if you don’t believe me, listen to the scholars explain what Bruh Paul was writing about. 

They say: ‘ The expression I keep under loses much of the original sense. It has the idea of to “give one a black eye,” “buffet,” or “bruise.” Paul’s readers knew that in the Isthmian Games, the boxers wore gloves consisting of ox-hide bands covered with knots and nails, and loaded with lead and iron. To prepare for such an event, a man would have to brace himself to endure all forms of physical abuse. 

Lest that by any means…I myself should be a castaway (lit. “So that…I myself will not be disqualified”). Paul was not afraid of losing his salvation: his subject is still Christian liberty. The point is that the believer must discipline himself to avert both being disqualified from Christian ministry, and forfeiting the rewards for such service.’ 

And we think that our modern-day boxing is brutal! Hn! Bruh Paul’s zeal about the Christian race must have frightened off some people, thinking that to be a believer, they had to put up with such awful physical abuse. It’s no different from the way some of us behave today, desiring no sacrifice or hard times on our Christian journey. But that’s simply impossible, for life itself brings hard and sacrificial times whether you’re a believer or not. 

It all begins with self-discipline though my brethren! If we are to live successfully for Christ, we need to conquer our flesh, our carnal nature, and that can only be done by constant training. And that training means constantly meditating on God’s word, through prayer and thanksgiving, and putting it all into action in our lives. 

But don’t believe me, hear it directly from the horse’s mouth, (smile) when the Lord Himself explained it to Joshua, on making him the Israelite leader after Moses’ death. ‘This book of the law shall not depart out of (be constantly in) thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.’ (Josh. 1:8) And friends, if the Lord says it’s so, then so it is! (smile) Who are we to dispute it eh. 

So please, let’s get serious about living for Christ nuh. Life itself is difficult enough, and Christ’s desires adds more to it. But the good thing is that He never asks us to do stuff we can’t do, or not give us the tools to do it. But we must believe, to come up with the necessary faith. And that only comes from daily experience with Him. As we give our lives to Him, and see how He faithfully handles them, then our faith grows. But we have to let go and jump in feet first, take the first step; then, taking one step at a time grow in grace and faith. As Christ reassuringly advises: ‘Fear not.’ That’s the only way to do it. 

Now, for those of us who are doing our best to live for Christ, let’s go home letting all and sundry know of our wonderful position in Him, by declaring (yesss!!!) our Wednesday Wail. As one strong, confident voice. ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! I am halfway home. My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

Now, let’s get out there and run that race of glory for Christ, as is our bounden duty. Much LOVE!

…to successfully run a race…one must prepare seriously for it… 

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