Summary: Part 3 of this series focuses on the race we are to run individually as taken from 1 Corinthians 9:26.
Choices – Part 3
Choose The Right Race
This is part three of my series “Choices.” I’ve titled this message “Choose the Right Race.” Our foundational Scripture from 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 says, “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. Therefore I run thus; not with uncertainty. Thus I fight; not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” In this Scripture Paul compare the Christian’s race to a sporting event. In part one I shared with you that “Our abilities to do something often do not start with our being able to do it; it starts with our choice to do it. Once the choice is made, the ability can come through training, discipline and preparation!” This is the essence of what Paul captured in these few verses. In part two, I shared with you that we must choose victory versus simple success. The difference between victory and success is the repeatability. If you are in a war, you will have success in battle until you reach the total victory and the battle is over. We often settle for successes, never expecting or experiencing total victory. It is a mindset. When we begin to choose victory, how we see the world around us and our specific situations will change. My example was the marathon runner who competes in a marathon but their goal is not to win, but a personal goal that they have assigned for themselves. In that situation when they have met their personal goal, they experienced success, but not the victory of winning the race and the prize attached to the race. As a Christian, we must run the race that God has given to each of us to run and we must focus on His prize, not a personal goal that we may set which may be far different from what God desires of us.
This morning I will focus on verse twenty-six and I ask you again to think about the race you’re running and if you’re running “your race” – the one that God has assigned you.
I. Competing With Certainty
In 1 Corinthians 9:26 Paul writes the following: “Therefore I run thus; not with uncertainty. Thus I fight; not as one who beats the air.” In verses 24 and 25 that we have discussed previously, Paul explains that everyone who competes does so for the prize yet only one can be the winner – the victor. He states that each participate is temperate in all things. What he is saying is that those who compete practice a lot of self-control and discipline even during the times when they are not actually in training for an event. Their lifestyle is one of always preparing and keeping their bodies ready. After he explains this, he transitions to his race. I want you to focus on the last part of the verse. After he states that this is how he was running his individual race, with discipline, self-control and focused on the prize assigned to his race, he said “not with uncertainty.” To be uncertain means that you’re know sure and you have doubts. Paul stated that he was running his race with surety – there was no doubt as to the race he was running the race assigned to him. Why is this important?