Friday, August 03, 2007

Being a coach isn’t enough

In the following passages, Paul continues to underscore his commitment to live-out what he teaches and he clearly tells us why: so that he will not be disqualified.
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. 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. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. - 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
It is not enough to talk about the gospel and teach others about being a disciple; we must live it out ourselves. We must personally run the race to win. Coaches don’t win the race. It is only the runners that can actually win the race and get the prize. Paul does not want to just be a coach; he makes sure that he is also a runner in the race. And not just any runner, he wants to win the race. Therefore, he trains himself, he exercises, he puts himself on a strict diet, and he actually does what he teaches (coaches) others to do.

To underscore his commitment to personally finishing and winning this race he uses very strong language like “I beat my body and make it my slave”. These are the words of someone who is willing to go all the way to make sure he gets the prize and is not disqualified. Paul knows, and is pointing out, that this race (the Christian life) is not a cakewalk. It is serious business and requires us also take such a view of our lives.

May we not just be coaches, but also runners; may we not just be talkers, but doers; may we practice what we preach and discipline ourselves so that we may not be disqualified. Remember, this is not practice; it is the real deal. We are a running the race for a prize that will last forever.

Related post: Do as I say … and do

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