The Greatest Contest. On Superbowl Sunday we examined the text in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. In this text Paul points out to his readers that everyone is in a race or a contest, if you will. This contest is the battle that is between our will and the will of God. He reminds us that in this contest unlike the world tries to make you think, there is but only one winner. There can be no fence straddling, only one opponent will reach VICTORY. He tells us to run to win! Now as Christians, we understand that the only way we are going to have victory is in God’s Will. God’s will is our goal. Once one recognizes the goal, there are several steps that must be taken for it to be obtained. We must be Goal oriented, intentional, determined, move with stamina (endurance), and when we get tired we must have a mindset to overcome fatigue. I read something that was so profound. As Christians we do not totally depend on the power of God to bring us through the hard stuff. We are like a car following the car in front of us to get us to a location that we don’t know the direction. We are following the car but we are relying on our own engine, gas, tires, etc. to keep going. However in order to persevere in God’s will, as we follow Christ, we must also be connected to Him like railroad cars that are connected to a locomotive. Following Him, but totally dependent on the power of God to see us through this life to our eternal destination, Heaven. When we are connected to God we have that super-natural conqueror power to press through when we feel like giving up. In verses 25, Paul says all the opponents in the race are disciplined in their training. Think about it. Your flesh is disciplined! It knows how to get what it wants. From a baby one’s flesh has LEARNED how to manipulate situations and have it’s way. Now, as believers we must discipline our flesh to obey the will of God. In doing this it requires training. Training requires one to be intentional by staying in the word of God and making the flesh obey God’s prompting. We have to make our flesh submit to God’s direction; Your Word oh Lord is a Lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path, Psalms 119:105. Paul says every step we make must be made with purpose. In this contest we are not shadow boxing. There is an opponent and that opponent is our will, ourselves, that’s right, as it relates to following God, we are our worst enemy. We relax in the fight because it seems like no one is there but our will is always there waiting to have it’s way. That’s what Paul meant when he said “every time I try to do good evil is always present” Romans 7:21. Lastly, Paul says to train our bodies to do what’s right so that we will not be disqualified while we are spreading the word of God. Now, that is deep! Think about it how many times have we heard of someone getting tripped up in sin while working in ministry. This thing is real. One can’t lose focus of our own obedience while leading others. We can’t get so busy that we stop training. So in this contest one must be careful not to be so focused on other things that we neglect maintaining an intimate growing relationship with God and allowing His will to be lived out in our lives moment by moment.