1 Corinthians 9:26 “I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:”
The Christian life is often referred to as a race or a fight. It will not be easy to live the Christian life, but it is rewarding. I would much rather live the Christian life and fight the battles to live it than to fight the battles caused by my sin.
Paul said in the verse above, “I therefore so run…” He was saying that because there is a prize for him to win, he runs this race in a certain manner. Paul wanted to obtain this prize, and though some may have criticized him that he should have been running to please God instead of receiving a prize, it was his focus on how he ran that God blessed. If you are going to run your race of the Christian life in the manner that God blesses, you are going to have to run your race in the same manner that Paul ran his. Let me share how you should run your race.
First, you should run in self-control. Verse 25 says, “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.” You will not be successful running the race of the Christian life if you do not learn restraint. Paul did not say that he was temperate in “some” things, but he was “temperate in all things.” There are some things that hinder you from running the race of the Christian life in the manner that God wants you to run it; therefore, you must practice restraint by not doing those things that would hinder you, even if those things are not wrong. The race we are in is so critical to reaching the lost, and anything that would hinder us from running this race MUST be set aside.
Second, you should run in faith. Verse 25 continues to say, “Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” The race of the Christian life is accomplished by faith. You will never obtain the prize that God has for you by letting fear and unbelief dictate what you do for God. Faith is not easy, but it is very rewarding. Faith is not passive, but it is trusting to the point that you will risk everything to accomplish great things for Christ. If you want to run your race successfully, you are going to have to run it by faith.
Third, you should run with purpose. Paul said, “I therefore so run, not as uncertainly…” Paul had a purpose for running, and that purpose was to reach the lost for Christ. You will never run the race of the Christian life successfully without having a purpose, and your purpose should match God’s purpose for your life. In other words, find God’s will for your life and do it. Paul knew what he believed, where he was going, and why he did what he did. To serve God without purpose will only breed unfaithfulness. Purpose is what keeps you doing what you are supposed to do when you don't feel like doing it. You have no reason to do what you are supposed to do if you have no purpose. Purpose causes the believer to do right by duty when they don't feel like doing right. This may not sound spiritual, but it is more spiritual to do right by duty than it is to do right ONLY when you feel like doing right.
Fourth, you should run by keeping your body in subjection. Verse 27 says, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection…” My friend, you will never run the race of the Christian life successfully by being led by your flesh; you only succeed in running this race by being led by the Spirit. Yielding to the Holy Spirit keeps your body in subjection, which keeps you running the race for Christ.