Striving for the Mastery – Introduction

“Know you not that they which run in a race run all, but one receives the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that strives 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 beats 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.”  I Corinthians 9: 24 – 27 

Jesus should be our primary source of motivation. The Olympic games provide many illustrations of athletic motivation for victory. This text provides metaphors that serve as a framework for spiritual striving for mastery. Several posts will be dedicated to this theme.

Mike Marsh, Barcelona Gold Medalist in the 200 meters, tells of a friend who was a coach urging him to participate in track without success. He finally motivated him to watch one of the world’s greatest athletes run on TV. Mike watched Carl Lewis and was fired with excitement. He was motivated by Carl’s example as no one had ever been able to motivate him. That motivation created an Olympic Gold Medalist in the person of Mike Marsh.

You may lack motivation for life. You may be without motivation to achieve your best in life. If you study the life of Christ you will find inexhaustible motivation in Him. He then can create in you the best “you” you have the capacity of becoming. Contained in that “best you” is the most happiness and contentment for which you have the capacity.

Turning to Christ in faith and trusting Him as Savior might not make you a Gold Medalist, but it will make you the best “you” you can be. Trust Him and see! He will motivate you to strive to be your best at everything you do.

Our text is a vivid summary of the drive and dynamic resulting from following Christ. The letter is addressed to Christians in Corinth. This great city with a population of 500,000 was the “Vanity Fair” of the Roman Empire. It was one of the most famous “good time cities” of all time. It was an athletic crazed city. The Isthmus Games, which were larger than the Olympic Games, were held there.

There were certain requirements for participating in the games. In considering what was required to participate in the games we can gain insight into what is involved in serving our Lord Jesus. To participate in life for Jesus you’ve got to meet His standard. Posts will illustrate these requirements. In it all Jesus must be our coaching motivator.