Summary: A sermon about going the extra mile.
1 Corinthians 9:26-27 KJV I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:  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.
I. INTRODUCTION—FIGHTING ABOVE YOUR WEIGHT CLASS
-A few days ago, I ran across a statement that arrested my attention. In fact, I had never even heard of this phrase before. It was, “he is fighting above his weight class.” So I begin to seek out an answer as to what this concept really meant.
-When I “googled” it, I was sent to various websites that had to do with boxing and those trainers who developed boxers. All of the sites seemed to indicate that fighting above your weight meant that you were fighting an opponent who was bigger, meaner, and had the capacity to knock your brains out.
-But there was a disclaimer that was given in the midst of defining this idea. It gave the thought that there were fighters in the past who managed to fight beyond their abilities and win the battle against an opponent who was intimidating to them.
-They had been outmanned and outgunned from the outset but they kept on fighting above their weight until the victory had been secured. Through rigorous self-discipline, reaching above the obstacles, and pressing on ahead of the hindrances, they were victorious.
-There are things that all of us can do to become greater servants in the Kingdom of God and one of those necessary things to do is to fight above our weight.
-Paul with this one passage of Scripture puts himself and all of the saints of God in the place of a boxer. There will be moments when we dole out heavy blows to the enemy. The body of this boxer has been so finely trained that it is in top-notch condition. Weeks of training have led up to the battle he is about to get involved in.
-Just as the outer man has been tuned into the finest condition through eating right, training right, sleeping right, and everything entailed in that the inner man is just as involved. There are things that take place in the soul of the boxer that catapults him into the arena with a mindset toward victory. Passion, courage, and stamina are all components of the greatest of souls who fight.
-No fighter can be careless or unconcerned with his body or with his soul. Wasted energy soon enough become liabilities that will create a disaster in the ring. There are certain temptations that the devil wants you to buy into when you start the fight.
A. Fighting Above Your Weight Class—Understanding the Battle
-One of the earliest mistakes that devil tempts us into believing is that we are going to constantly be walking in places of refuge and by still waters in some green, lush pasture. All spiritual maturity will be ushered into place with effort and struggle. This is necessary and it should not catch you off guard.
-We are in the fight of our life and the Lord is always calling us to a conquest. In this passage, Paul very clearly now points out that the greatest enemy of the soul is often ourselves. You will have to be very hard on your flesh.
-Various translations of 1 Corinthians 9:27 note it this way:
ESV—I discipline my body and keep it under control. . .
NASB—I discipline my body and make it my slave. . .
NIV—I beat my body and make it my slave. . .
NRSV—I punish my body and enslave it. . .
Williams—I keep on beating and bruising my body and making it my slave. . .
Moffatt—I maul and master my body. . .
-The very direction and how-to of the punches of the fight is defined in other places by Paul:
Romans 8:12-14 KJV Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.  For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Colossians 3:5-8 KJV Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:  For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:  In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.  But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
Galatians 5:24 KJV And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.