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 someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to 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

The point of this passage of scripture is to be an encouragement and refocusing of purpose for believers. Paul is trying to spur his Christian brothers and sisters on and away from apathy and complacency. The pursuit of Jesus is not for the inactive and apathetic, but the hungry and determined.

When Paul mentions that though many many be in a race, not all fare the victors, I feel that he makes it clear that one's relationship with God ought not be characterized by apathy and disinterest. Paul encourages his audience to pursue Christ and our relationship with him as if we were attempting to win a race. Just as an athlete trains regularly, monitors their health, is fed properly to remain strong, and practices self-control and discipline, we ought to reflect similar habits in our pursuit of Jesus. And though the athletes of this world receive fame, wealth, and other treasures, which are all temporary in nature, our prize is to dwell in the presence of the King of kings and Lord of lords for the rest of eternity. This prize is what inspires us to keep our faith, focus, and hunger.

So the point of this passage is to encourage and spur believers on in their pursuit of obtaining the ultimate prize, being eternal dwelling in the presence of God and his goodness. Here are a few practical tips for you to utilize this passage. 1. Know what the prize you are pursuing is. I encourage you to further develop you knowledge and understanding of who God is and what he is like. See what the Bible has to say about God, ask God what he is like in prayer (he will answer you), ask others who they understand God to be. 2. Seek the presence and experience of God. The best inspiration for hunger and desire is personal encounters and experience. So set aside some time to actually go out and look for ways to see and respond to God. 3. Practice developing better discipline. It is easier to commit and stay committed when someone is fully bought in to an idea. So use your experiences and encounters with God to fuel you in your disciplines of faith. Use your knowledge/understanding of God to remind yourself of why the prize at the end of the race is worth fighting and sacrificing for.

My prayer would be for everyone to grow into an understanding and belief that the prize of spending eternity with a God who loves us, desires us, and wishes to bless us unendingly, is worth more than anything. It is worth sacrificing anything and everything that is required. And an understanding that regardless of what is sacrificed along the way, what is given as a reward is far better than what was given up along the way.

- Will Goodwin