As a young man preparing for the ministry, I believe I was led by the Holy Spirit to a very important life-verse… 1 Corinthians 9:27 (I read it again today during my time of “coffee with the Lord”). It has served me well over the years and has assumed a pivotal role in my life. In fact, after I realized the importance of staying in shape and working out daily in order to function at a maximum personal level, the surrounding verses near my life-verse became even more special to me. This is not to say, I’ve never had a failure or stumbled from the principle and truth my life-verse expresses, but regardless of those failures it has continued to be a central, guiding principle in my life. It expresses my life-quest and desire in service for the Lord.
Here is the passage with my life-verse included in all caps…
“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! Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So Ido not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I DISCIPLINE MY BODY AND KEEP IT UNDER CONTROL, LEST AFTER PREACHING TO OTHERS I MYSELF SHOULD BE DISQUALIFIED!” (1 Corinthians 9:24–27 ESV)
I think we’ve all seen it at some time or other… A person with great promise in public life disgraced by a moral or ethical lapse or pattern of living. A young talented entertainer self-destruct through an undisciplined lifestyle. An athlete shooting for a world record or championship season disqualified for violating the rules. A high profile pastor disgraced and disqualified for ministry because of a tragic “moral failure.”
I don’t want to be that kind of person! With God’s help I want to listen to the warning of Apostle Paul in this passage and exercise Spiritual self-discipline… Hey, a “fruit of the Spirit” is … “self-discipline” (Galatians 5:22- 23). And if you’ve fallen, acknowledge it, ask God and others to forgive you, establish some accountability, and allow God’s grace to restore you and enable you to rebuild what sin has destroyed. It can happen!!