Self-Control – I Corinthians 9:24-27

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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We’ve all seen it. When a young man is seriously interested in developing a life-long relationship with a young woman, he conducts himself more carefully than he otherwise might. He puts his best foot forward with good hygiene, proper language, courteous conduct, and great attention to the wishes of this young lady. When she takes him to meet her parents, he is usually on his absolute best behavior. Why? It is because he is pursuing something valuable: the prize of winning the heart of this young lady and the approval of her parents.

When referring to how believers should live each day after salvation, the Apostle Paul used the illustration of an athlete running a race. He asked, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run that ye may obtain” (I Corinthians 9:24). Every believer, without exception, should aspire to earning eternal reward. It is not selfish or carnal to desire such things, and it would be utterly foolish to live without this goal in mind. Love for the Lord is one motivation to live a godly dedicated life, and the desire for reward is another. The Lord tells us about the possibility of reward to encourage us to strive to live for Christ in such a way that it will result in rich eternal reward. How will this be possible? Paul told us: “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…But I keep my under my body, and bring it into subjection…” (I Corinthians 9:25, 27). Before entering a competition, a serious athlete will discipline himself and mold his body into the best it can be. He will abstain from smoking or using drugs, choose to eat properly, exercise, and train hard to maximize his needed skills. In the arena of Christian living for Christ, we too must become “temperate,” or demonstrate self-control. We must choose to refrain from sinful things that would hamper our performance, daily feed our souls with the spiritual nourishment of God’s Word, and grow in the needed skills as a soldier of Christ. All this requires an intentional mindset, while keeping our eye on the goal of receiving the prize of eternal reward.

Believer, arm yourself today with the mindset that you are preparing for eternity. Therefore, discipline yourself to grow in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."