The Only Prize Worth Winning!

Scripture: Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
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 a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat 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 9:19-27 NIV

Observation: This is an amazing piece of scripture.  It should scream to anyone who reads it!  There are two main ideas presented. 
 1) I must do whatever I can to win the hearts of those I meet for Christ.  I must be familiar and flexible with their circumstance so that they can hear the truth found in the gospel. “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” 1 Corinthians 9:22b NIV 2) There is a prize to be won, life eternal for those who come to know Christ!  For me the prize begins with the feeling that I serve a risen Savior who loves me and its finale is on the day he says to me face to face, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Matthew 25:21 NIV

Application: So where do I begin? I have been around as a Christian for a while.  I fall short, way short of serving the Lord to the best of my ability.  I need to get back to the basics.  I can find those by knowing Christ and the ministry he started, I call these “Jesus Habits.”  As I share them with you I reaffirm my commitment to utilizing the habits Christ has given me.

1) Know the Word – Most Christians agree that Jesus had the education common to most young Jewish men.  It was a Jewish tradition that young boys spent time studying, memorizing and discussing God’s Word.  They mainly studied the first five books of the Old Testament which are called the Pentateuch, (read Luke 2:39-52).  I must spend more time daily chewing on the Word.  Each and every time I faithfully open God’s Word, I receive new insight and understanding.

2) Know, understand and live a life based on the “fruit of the spirit.” – Jesus showed us through example a life using these attributes; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, (read Galatians 5:16-26).  A wonderful book that shares insight into these attributes is “A Woman’s Walk with God” by Elizabeth George.

3) Prayer and Fasting Jesus took time to meditate, fast and pray.  I must communicate with the Lord through prayer.  I must meditate upon the Word and I must wait in His presence for long periods of time if need be.  Fasting helps me to focus and as I sacrifice my Lord sees my commitment to deepening our relationship.

4) Being a Servant I must be prepared to put into action my gifts. I must be willing to serve my Savior wherever that may take me!  I must be as sensitive as Christ was to the needs of those around me.  I must put others before myself in order to provide an example of a life devoted to Christ so that  through my love they may hunger to experience a personal relationship with him. How far am I willing to go?  Well, Jesus went to the cross for me!

Prayer: Lord, forgive me for lacking I am capable of so much more!  I surrender myself to you and I start afresh knowing I have a lot of work ahead of me!  Lord refine me, mold me by your Word and allow your Holy Spirit to not only live in me but overflow from me to others! Lord I Love You!  I want the prize! I want to see you face to face and hear those precious words “Well Done.”  Amen


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