“But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”

1 Corinthians 9:27

Our aim is to run the race of life in order to be a useful instrument of God, to be used whenever and wherever He wants to use us. That is Paul’s objective. When he woke up in the morning that is what was first in his thought; that is what set the tone of his day. He was ready to give up certain indulgences, if necessary, which may have been perfectly all right and proper for him at a given time. But if they interfered with his objective to be what God wanted him to be, Paul said he would be happy to give them up. For him the great objective was to win the prize and to feel the sense of delight that he was being used by God.

Now in this figure of a race that Paul uses, it is obvious you cannot do that if there is no self-dis- cipline. There is always something in life that will distract you if you let it. There are tempta- tions to turn aside, to give up, to sit back and let life go on and enjoy yourself. But all those things will sabotage your Christian effectiveness. That’s what Paul is talking about. And so he says we need self-discipline, we need self-control.

If we’re ever going to mature as Christians, we’ve got to learn the power of self-discipline. We could go on and on about attending church services, studying your Bible, prayer, teaching the lost, seeing to the needs of one another, getting involved in the work of the church, and count- less other things that we need to be doing as Christians. But it wouldn’t do a bit of good until we develop the self-discipline needed to do these things.

To develop the self-discipline we need is going to take a great desire on our part to want to change what needs to be changed, a will-power to see it through, and the power that God offers us through his Son Jesus Christ.

Paul said, “I discipline my body” (1 Corinthians 9:27). The apostle was speaking figuratively, of course, but his message is clear. If we want to be winners in our spiritual marathon, we must discipline ourselves: reading the Bible, praying, loving self-sacrificially, forgiving freely, and rejecting every sinful thought and inclination.

Lord, help me always to do what is right and to reject sin so that I will never become disqualified in my service for you.

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Garment of Praise

Monthly Insights for Spiritual Growth, Encouragement and Personal Victory.

Oluyemisi Onanuga

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version of the Bible.

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