|Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. |
|And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 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. |
|Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. |
|1 Corinthians 9:25-27 |
In the the prize was a pine wreath. The contestants competed for more than that, of course. The wreath represented fame, acclaim, and the life of a hero. Winners were immortalized, much as they are today. But that "immortality" was just as mortal as the wreath itself, and lasted little longer. Both were perishable.
Christians do not run for a short-lived pine wreath or for short-lived fame. They already have true immortality. They run in order to receive a "crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award .... on that day" (2 Tim. 4:8), "an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven" (1 Pet. 1:4). That prize is imperishable.
But the imperishable requires self-control just as the perishable. No Christian will be successful in witnessing, or in anything else worthwhile, without discipline. Every good thing we accomplish-whether in learning, business, artistic skill, marriage, spiritual living, witnessing, or whatever-is accomplished through discipline and self-control.
MacArthur, J. (1996, c1984). 1 Corinthians. Includes indexes. (214). Chicago: Moody Press.