Jarome Arrington (Dean of Students - Texas Independent Baptist Seminary)
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 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.
Character is something fewer, and fewer people strive to possess. It’s so much easier to be hinged to a bed as Proverbs 26:14 teaches. As one who does not seek to have Jesus wake him up in order to walk with Him, he will rely on an alarm and then “hit the snooze” again and again until his “Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep;” as Proverbs 19:15 teaches. He will sleep through the rest of those alarms and will not obtain because he does not strive.
The Holy Ghost is teaching here through the Apostle Paul that it’s our responsibility to strive, to master, to be temperate. The Spirit will be glad to help, but he will not push you out of bed! He convicts, He persuades; but He is easily quenched! Therefore, we have the exhortation to run in order to obtain; NOT walk and somehow finish! We are to strive for MASTERY, not lull into mediocrity! Which crown are you attempting to obtain? Are you uncertain? Well, find out my dear brother! Don’t beat the air in a fight! Make every punch count!
God puts the responsibility back on us. He will always do His part. As a matter of fact, He already did his part! Paul says, “I keep under my body” He didn’t say Jesus keeps him in subjection. He didn’t say, God, the Father, holds him to his word. He didn’t say the Holy Spirit convicted him every time he was late. He didn’t make the statement that the Holy Ghost stopped reminding him about not taking that second look at the scantily clad female. He didn’t even say his momma warned him! He said he does it himself! He’s running! He’s determined. He certainly knows where he’s going and wastes no time!
The Apostle Paul ran to obtain. He strove for the mastery. He also recognized that others were watching him from afar. People were literally looking up to him as an example. Did you read his name and title correctly? His name is APOSTLE PAUL. There were only 12 apostles. These were the men closest to Jesus as He was in the flesh. Apostle Paul had been given those powers of healing, winning people to Christ, not dying when a poisonous snake bit him and so on. You would think the least of his worries would have been falling into sin. He would never have to imagine facing the day when his transgressions were so public and so horrible that he would be cast away and of no use to the Saviour. The Apostle Paul recognized his humanity, his frailty. Are you better than the Apostle Paul?
“Give me 100 preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God; such alone will shake the gates of hell.” -John Wesley