1 Corinthians 9:24–27 (ESV)
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.
27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
1. Run to obtain the prize
1 Corinthians 9:24 (ESV) Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
What is the prize?
- An Imperishable and unfading wreath
1 Corinthians 9:25 (ESV) Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
1 Peter 5:4 (ESV) And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
- The wreath is the crown of life, righteousness, glory (James 1:12; Rev 2:10; 2 Tim 4:8;)
James 1:12 (ESV) Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
- Upward or Heavenly Call of God
Philippians 3:14 (ESV) I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Those are all future prizes for those who run the race. But there are also present day prizes.
Luke 18:29-30 (ESV)
29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,
30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
Notice how that passage says “in this time and in the age to come”?
There are present time rewards for those who are running the race not “just” a future hope.
Not that the future hope is not enough but because the Lord knows we would struggle with a seemingly distant hope and no rewards along the way. He is a gracious and generous God to those He loves.
See the The Process Is The Point Series