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In It to Win It

Daily Reading: 1 Corinthians 8-9

Scripture Focus: Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. (1 Corinthians 9.24)

Devotional Thought: Last night ten-year-old Hailey came to quiz practice from a soccer game. She was a bit gloomy. "We lost..." she said. I told her to cheer up - she had been outside in the sun (and being in the sun is good for you), had gotten some exercise, and breathed in that good fresh air. "You're a winner!" I said. I don't think she bought it. Only one team could win, and she knew the score.

Paul knew the score, too. He told the Corinthians that they needed to run to win! He gave them some good winning techniques:

  • Determination. "So run that you may win" (v. 24). If we aren't fully invested in the outcome, we won't give it our best effort. We need to remember what the prize is - pleasing God and one day seeing Jesus!

  • Denial. "Exercise mastery" (v. 25). Those runners in Paul's day entered a 10-month period of intense training. They denied themselves anything that would weaken or fatten the body - even legitimate things that would otherwise hinder their success. As Christians, we too must master our appetites in all things in order to give attention to that which matters most.

  • Direction. "Do not run aimlessly" (v. 26). It does no good to be the fastest runner only to miss the finish line. I have known many well-meaning Christians who get sidetracked, endangering their own spiritual health and even that of their families.

  • Discipline. "Discipline my body" (v. 27). Paul literally said, he took his body captive! As Christians our bodies do not tell us what to do. Rather, we are masters over our bodies.

Are you in it to win it?

Prayer: Lord, I am in it to win it. Help me, to be determined, to deny myself, to get my direction right, and to discipline myself. I can't do this without you, Lord, so I ask for your help today. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: 10 Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in affliction and in irons, 11 for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High. 12 So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor; they fell down, with none to help. 13 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart. 15 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! 16 For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron. (Psalms 107:10-16)

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