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“The Winners’ Ways”

Key Verse

“But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27).

TEXT — 1 Corinthians 9:24-27


Some famous athletes were asked about their strategies for success. Their responses were remarkably simple but profound. They imagine the outcome before the race begins. They learn to focus and stay calm under pressure. They have clear preparation routines. They engage in self-talk to boost confidence. Some use music to avoid distraction. They set goals and reorient their lives to realise the goals. None of these things can be done without personal discipline.

Apostle Paul drew from the sports world and made an analogy with regard to what it would take for a believer to win the Christian race. He pointed out that not everyone engaged in a race wins the prize. He highlights the moderation, rigours and deprivations athletes subject themselves to in order to compete fittingly in a race they are not even guaranteed a win. Yet they do all these for a corruptible crown and only one receives the prize at the end. He gave his own example of how he maintained a winning streak by exercising self-denial and mortification of the flesh lest he became a castaway after preaching to others.

The Christian race requires no less commitment than the worldly athletes give to their calling. Although believers are free in Christ, they do not have the liberty to live recklessly. Unlike the usual sporting competition, it is a race in which we can all win and collect prizes. But like Apostle Paul, we must subject ourselves to necessary discipline and carefully observe the rules. We must be willing to give up even ‘good things’ that may constitute an impediment or else we stand a chance of being cast away.

Unlike athletes of the world, we have the promise of enduring rewards. Therefore, we must go the extra mile, tolerating neither laziness nor carelessness to win the prize.

Thought for the day

What you think is at stake determines your poise and pace.

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Pastor W.F. Kumuyi
About Author - Pastor W.F. Kumuyi

Listed among “500 most powerful people on the planet” by the Foreign Policy magazine in 2013, Pastor (Dr.) William F. Kumuyi is the founder and General Superintendent of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry (DCLM) headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria. DCLM started in 1973 as a 15-member Bible study group right in Kumuyi’s apartment at University of Lagos where he was a lecturer. His revolutionary Bible teaching on personal holiness and commitment to evangelism soon gained so much traction and resulted in a widespread revival.

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