Run in such a way that you may win.
1 Corinthians 9:24
Paul writes, “Run in such a way that you may win.” The Isthmian Games to which Paul referred, were open to everyone. Obviously the object of running any race is to win! But it's not just a matter of putting on your Nike's, wearing the outfit and enjoying the scenery; “Run in such a way that you may win.” So, what's the secret to winning? “Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things” (1 Co 9:25 NAS). Athletes who run to win, exercise restraint over their impulses, emotions and desires. They watch their diet, get sufficient sleep and train their bodies in just the right way. They're not doing things that could limit their performance on the track. They measure the consequences of every indulgence according to whether it will help or hinder them.
Paul says that those who ran in the Isthmian Games did so the win “a perishable wreath.” Actually, the victors were treated like royalty. Often their debts were cancelled and they were allowed to live tax free for the rest of their lives. In some cases they were given a lifetime supply of food so that they could rest on their laurels. So Paul points out that, as valuable as that leafy crown was, it can't compare to the eternal rewards for which we strive. In other words, run with eternity in view. Obedience to God, even in details, enhances your heavenly reward. At the end of a life of deep commitment and detailed obedience, Paul could say, “There is laid up for me a crown.” So, live each moment with that crown in view!