Striving for the Mastery
1 Corinthians 9:25
“And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”
God makes it very clear that the believer should strive to receive an incorruptible crown. The word “striveth” means to struggle or fight for something. For what is the believer to strive? He is to strive for the “mastery.” In other words, God is telling the believer they are going to have to fight if they are going to win. Let me share with you several observations about God’s challenge to strive “for the mastery.”
First, there is nothing wrong with winning. God wants the believer to be a winner. We live in times when winning has been looked down upon and almost considered a taboo thing for which to strive; instead, we have people who would rather give out awards for participation instead of winning. Just because you participate doesn’t mean you should receive a reward. God makes it very clear that He wants His children to do more than participate; He wants them to win.
Second, you must put pressure on yourself if you are going to win. Nobody has ever won without pressure. Pressure is not a bad thing if pressure pushes you to do the right thing. Losers are the only ones who think that putting pressure on yourself and others to win is bad. Pressure is what reveals your weaknesses so that you can improve the areas that are keeping you from winning. If you are passive about winning, you will find yourself being a loser.
Third, it takes drive to win. The pressure you put on yourself to win will also give you drive to keep going when you want to quit. The reason you need to have pressure is so that you can have the drive to continue when you want to quit. It is not easy winning. There are times you will have to push through “tired” just to get to the finish line. If “tired” can stop you, you will find yourself never being on the victory side. Winners were weary and tired at some point in their life, but they kept going in spite of being tired. It takes drive if you are going to see victory in your Christian walk.
Fourth, it takes desire to win. Striving for the mastery is a desire. You will never experience the sweet taste of victory if you don’t have a desire to win. Desire provokes you to do away with the unnecessary just so that you can see victory. Desire says, “No” to others when what others want you to do will keep you from winning. If you don’t have the desire to win, you will never know the jubilation of victory. You must have desire to overcome sin. You must have desire to grow your ministry. You must have desire to be the best at what you do. You must desire victory so much that you hate losing more than you enjoy winning. When your desire causes you to dislike losing more than you enjoy victory is when you will see yourself become a champion for Christ.
Fifth, it takes self-control to win. There are times when you are going to have to tell yourself and others, “No.” You must keep your body under control if you want to be a victor. You must be willing to put away anything that would keep you from seeing victory. Your desire to win will be revealed in how well you practice self-control.
Sixth, it takes purpose to win. You will never win without purpose or structure. My friend, get a purpose for what you do daily because without purpose, you will never experience victory.