Striving for the Mastery – Part Two

“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)

In striving for mastery an athlete had to be CONTROLLED.

One common characteristic of every great athlete is self-control.  To participate in the Isthmus Games every athlete had to check into the training facility nine months before the games. When they checked-in they checked-out of society. They went into isolation from the public and were completely cut off from everything and everyone outside.

The Greek word describing this experience is AGONIZOMAI. Various translations of the Greek New Testament make its meaning more understandable.  Some are:

“Every man who strives for mastery trains himself by all manner of self-restraint.” 

Josh Davis, the swimmer who won three gold medals, spoke of his twelve years of training that resulted in a few moments of glory. Our lifetime of discipline will result in an eternity of glory.

“Anyone who enters a contest goes into strict training.”

The many splendid athletes who compete in the Olympics have done so. There is an English word that has come from the Greek word describing this intensive training. It can be heard in the Greek word AGONIZOMAI. Our word is “agony.” A hymn written by Isaac Watts in 1724 speaks to this.

Sure I must fight if I would reign;
Increase my courage, Lord;
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by thy Word.
Am I a soldier of the cross,
A follower of the Lamb?
And shall I fear to own his cause,
Or blush to speak his name?
When thine illustrious day shall rise,
And all thy saints shall shine,
And shouts of vict’ry rend the skies,
The glory, Lord, be thine.

How controlled by Jesus and His Word are you?  Recommit today.