Although there were pros and cons to the event, the Tokyo Olympics were held one year later, and a fierce battle is fought every day. I wad happy with the Japanese gold medal. The apostle Paul wrote in this way with the Olympics in mind.
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 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. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.(1 Corinthians 9: 24-27)
About 2000 years ago, when Paul was alive, a competition was held every four years in the town of Olympia, Greece. This is the origin of the Olympics. It seems that a competition like Olympia was held every two years in this town of Corinth. Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, so he probably saw the competition. Paul describes in verse 24 that life is similar to running competitions. At the Olympic Games at that time, the winner was given a laurel crown, Paul recommends, ” Run so that you can receive the award .”
Christian life is more like a marathon than a sprint. No matter how fast we run 100 meters, we shouldn’t walk all the way or abstain on the way, so it’s important to run firmly to the end and finish.
The players restrain themselves (verse 25). Put up with sweets. Practice without rushing. Aiming for a decaying crown = a gold medal. At that time, “only one person received the award” (verse 24), and only the gold medal was worth it. I think the silver and bronze medals are also excellent, but alas, at that time, it seems that the 2nd, 3rd, and 10th places were the same. God demands that we also restrain ourselves and run the race of faith to the end. To receive a permanent crown.
I would like to mention two points that make the race of faith different from the Olympics.
① There is not one crown (medal), nor three. Many crowns (gold medals) are available.
② Those who are competing together are not rivals, but allies and companions.
It doesn’t mean that we should outperform others and run so that only we can win the prize. If we get water, give it to others. For example, if we read a good book, don’t monopolize it by ourselves, but share it. We pray for others. So that everyone can finish the race so that they can receive the blessing.
What Paul is saying here is, “Once the religious life has started, it is not a sweet thing that everyone can automatically reach the goal.” “I’m running a tough race where some people get frustrated on the way, so aim for the goal, run hard, fight hard,” he recommends.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. (Hebrews 12: 1, 2)
Paul states two things in preparation for racing.
(1)The goal is clear
There was a marathon in Sapporo, and we ask them. We will never meet a runner who answers, “Where are you running?” “I don’t really know, I’m running for the time being.” They know where the goal is and run hard to reach it. And they run while thinking about what kind of pace they should keep.
Paul wrote that he did not “fight like hitting the sky” (verse 26). It is boxing, a sport that beats opponents, so they can’t be a winner if they hit the air. However, the apostle Paul wrote that the way of life of some Christians is that way.
The goal is not clear, and the opponent is hitting the sky without knowing. Paul lived with such a mindset that he would not waste energy by making irrelevant efforts. He lived a life that glorified God, putting God first. Also, he was firmly aware that the devil was an enemy.
(2) self-control (verse 25).
Paul has made a strong commitment to abandon his desires and force his body to obey in order to move toward his goals. Such an attitude can be seen by athletes. Paul says that if we don’t do the same with them, we won’t be able to win this race.
Of course salvation is a grace. Well then, it’s not that humans need to make any effort. There are certainly areas in which we should strive. We need to be aware that we are running a tough race. Because we are all at risk of being disqualified. This is an era of deception. Both outside and inside. Outside the church is Satan, the god of the world. There is a false teaching of liberal theology in the church, and heresy is rampant.
Paul wrote in his later years. He said I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (II Timothy 4: 6-8)
Each of us has a way to run and a life that God has prepared for us. We are currently running a race of faith, but we want to keep running to the end, finish, and receive a crown (medal) from God so that disqualified people will not be dropped out.
At the goal, seniors of faith are waiting for us. We also want to say like Paul. “I also ran with all my strength.” There is an award ceremony in heaven. If God says, “Good job, good faithful servant” when we receive the gold medal from Jesus, we will be rewarded for all our hard work. We don’t want to be told that we were a servant of a bad lazy person.
Many things remain hidden on this earth. I’m sure there are many things that will not be revealed. But God is looking at everything. Of course, there is a reward on this ground as well. But I think there are many rewards in heaven. Regardless of the evaluation of people, we would like to have a commendation ceremony in heaven as a person who is not ashamed before God.
I have heard the story of a British missionary couple. After serving in developing countries for many years, they finished their work and returned to their hometown. They were expecting to be greeted because they had written to some people. Then what about? When the ship arrived at the harbor, a large crowd was gathering and a great cheer was heard. There is also a banner saying “Welcome back”. The couple gets excited. They were impressed that so many people supported our work. And it’s time to get off the ship. Then what about? Aren’t people leaving? At last no one was gone. In fact, this large crowd was gathered because a politician went abroad for diplomacy and returned with good results. The two were very disappointed. I believe but there is a reward in heaven.
In many cases, I think that the rewards in this world and the rewards in heaven are different. Our assessment will not really be known on this earth. We don’t know unless we go to heaven. But there is something clear. It means that there is an award ceremony, a crown & gold medal award ceremony in heaven. Let’s run for the gold medal.
Posted by: canaan
I used to be a pastor in the metropolitan area for 10 years, but now I am a pastor at a local Christian church. I also run a travel agency and a farm. I myself have been empowered by various words, and I would like to convey hopeful words.
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