Summary: We are told that we are more than victorius through Christ. If that is so then why do so many Christ followers seem to have defeat and not victory. Because the only place victory comes before work is in the dictionary. A forgotten or ignored fruit of t
Intro: Have you ever looked for victory in your spiritual life but had it vanish like a mist of fog? Are you searching for what it means to be more than a conqueror but feel conquered most of the time? Do you sing victory in Jesus and really don’t believe that it’s possible. If you were honest would you say that true victory in the Christian walk is only for the super spiritual?
I believe we feel that way because we have forgotten that one of the of the portions of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control. If there are commands and or directions in the Bible then Jesus has already told us in John 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” In 1 Corinthians 10:31 we are told, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Why? Why should it be about God’s beauty, weight, and worth? Because when History ends it will be tied up with the scarlet cord of Jesus’ blood.
Paul does not compare the Christian life to a stroll. Paul compares the way we are to live in this life as a race. Dr Billy Graham was asked this in a television in interview. “What is it that makes you so different from other Christians?” Dr Graham simply replied, “I don’t have anything on anybody, I just try harder than most Christians.” Excellence requires sacrifices and self-control. Michael Phelps did not become the world’s greatest swimmer by lying on a lawn chair but by giving up things that other people were not willing to release. Paul is talking about the Isthmian games that took place every two years. There were all types of athletic contests running, boxing, gymnastics, wrestling etc. The athletes were so passionate about the contests that they sacrificed they way they ate, exercised, habits, etc. Jesus does not want us to be what other Christians are or have been. Instead he wants us to run toward His upward calling for us. So Paul explains and encourages us how to prepare and run for the glory and growth of God’s Kingdom.
I. We are called to endure the pain of running for victory
Read 1 Corinthians 9:25, 27
The word translated competes comes from the Greek word where we get agony or agonize. There is no room for a half-hearted effort when we are running for God’s glory. Paul is again not talking about running to salvation but recognition. Our recognition comes in the next life when we stand before Jesus at His judgment seat. Some will stand before Jesus and have the works of their lives burned up because of a half-hearted effort.
The athletes of Paul’s day changed their daily lifestyle for the purpose of passing glory. They would not have to pay taxes or serve in the military. We will share in the forever glory of God.
Discipline or self control is the Holy Spirit working in our lives. 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” NLT It appears to me that if you are not walking in discipline and self-control you are not walking in the Spirit.
Peter said that we will have “the crown of glory that does not fade away.” 1 Peter 5:4
He called it "an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1:4-5).
Just because it is reserved for us and we are kept safe for it doesn’t mean that we are to passively sit back and do nothing. There is a tension in the Bible that Jesus has procured and prepared it for us but we are to faithfully chase after a closer walk with Jesus.
The passage in Hebrews gives a clear idea of what Paul is talking about here, “" Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-2)."
What things that may not be deliberate sin can you lay aside for a closer walk and clearer witness of Jesus? What things do you release so that you can rely more heavily on Jesus? Are we too easily pleased with temporary things that we will not deny them for the forever thing?