Striving for the Mastery – Part One

“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)

The athletic metaphor in the text alludes to participation in the Isthmus Games, which were larger than the Olympic Games, but had similar requirements.

First the athlete had to be a citizen of the city state he represented.

Citizenship was basic. It is in the spiritual realm. If one professes to be a follower of Jesus they must be a citizen of the Kingdom and prove they belong to Him. That is, that you have by faith trusted Him in the forgiveness of sin. Do you represent Him? Do you practice what you profess? Becoming a citizen is as simple as A, B, C.

A – ACKNOWLEDGE you are a sinner. 

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”  (Romans 3:23).  That’s us.

B. – BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ.

“For with the heart one believes unto righteousness…”

C – CONFESS Christ as Savior.

 “…with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”  (Romans 10:10).

If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? How about last night? 

Jesus warned of pretentious citizenship.“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness…”  (Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)

A sure sign of citizenship is noted: “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him….” (I John 2: 3, 4).

With citizenship established it is essential to become a competitor for the Kingdom of God. Some have established their citizenship, but failed to become competitors.