Daily Devotional 10-11-19

Run to Win 
By Rev. Emmanuel Afful

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown… But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” 1Corinthians 9:24-27

I have been enjoying Doha 2019, a world athletic competition, in the capital of Qatar. While the crowd cheer on outstanding athletes, those athletes celebrate even more. They go electric with joy and happiness in realizing their efforts have paid off. You can imagine an athlete who won a medal saying, “Yes, I made it!” What makes winning so delightful is the long hours of preparation for the competition. They disciplined themselves so they could be prepared for the race.

Paul uses the metaphor of running a race to describe the Christian life and derives from this metaphor the concept of discipline.  

The Christian life is one of discipline. The grace of God does not offer a license to live any way we want. In fact, a healthy and pure understanding of grace demonstrates that it enables us to live godly lives in the world. It is the grace of God that helps us make choices that are separated and distinct from this world. Being disciplined is not self-righteousness or legalistic. Christians discipline themselves in response to God’s love, not to earn it. They desire to honor God with their lives and this requires discipline. John Piper says, “Paul’s running did not nullify the purpose of grace; it verified the power of grace.”

Therefore, let us live right; bearing in mind that our earthly choices have eternal consequences.  Let us run the spiritual race of godliness and of our salvation in Christ. Let us choose wisely, discern correctly, and walk worthy of our calling as a people set apart by God for His glory.  Christ Jesus exemplified to us that it is possible, with the power of the Holy Spirit, to honor God with our lives. 

We live disciplined lives not to obtain eternal life; our disciplined life is a proof that we have eternal life.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help me to appropriate your grace to run well, making the right choices and walking worthy of the upward prize of eternal life.