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. – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Tonight, my wife and I went to the races. There is a dirt track and tonight was the season’s end and season champions were crowned tonight. In car racing, there is a lot of preparation that goes into being ready for the race on race day. There is work on the car – the engine and the body – as well as working on driving skills. It takes preparation for being ready to go for the prize in a car race – taking first place.
Paul has just told the Corinthian believers about how he goes about seeking to build the kingdom of God through being all things to all people. (You can read about it in verses 19-23) That is Paul’s race. That this was Paul’s perspective of what he did can be seen in his words to Timothy about having fought the good fight, having finished the race.
In preparing to run the race, it is important to first know what the prize is. For Paul, it was seeing that he could win as many as possible. It was getting as many saved as possible. So, Paul prepared himself to do that through being different things to different people in order to connect with them and then draw them to Jesus and the gospel.
Second, it is important to know how to prepare for the race. You need to know the nature of the race so that you can prepare for it. If it is a running race, you run to increase stamina and speed. Whatever type of race it is, you work on things specifically that will prepare to be the one who wins.
So, what is the race you are running? What is the prize, the goal, of the race? Do you know?
And how are you preparing for the race? Are you continuing to prepare or have you stopped?
God has a race specifically designed for you, a race custom designed just for you to run. If you don’t know what that race is, spend some time with God and find out what that race looks like. Then find out from Him what the prize at the end of the race is. Then seek out the ways to prepare yourself, to train, so as to run that race.
Happy training and racing.