1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV) 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.
“Several years ago when the Duke University men’s basketball team won back-to-back championships, there was a popular T-shirt on campus. The front read, “You can talk the game, but can you play the game?” On the back, above the school logo, in large letters was printed the slogan, “We can play.” That is the challenge that Paul poses to his readers—and to himself: can we play the game? Rather than just talking about the gospel, we are called to pay the price of sacrifice and discipline in order to play the game rightly and thus to win the prize. The high level of discipline and skill required of competitive athletes provides us with a compelling metaphor that suggests what might be required. That is one reason the Olympic Games remain perpetually fascinating for us: we are captivated by the dedication that these women and men devote to the pursuit of the gold medal. What about our own dedication to the gospel? Is it comparably rigorous, or are we flabby, armchair spectators? The question must be asked. [Hays, Richard B., First Corinthians: Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, p. 158]
Response: Let’s pray that we would go from feeling like ‘we should play’ to ‘we can play’. Let’s pray over specific areas of our lives where there can be an increase of dedication, sacrifice, discipline, and skill. And let’s worship along with ‘Let It Be Jesus’ (click here).