Daily Devotion for November 11, 2010
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the Lord surrounds His people From this time forth and forever.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Running to Win
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things.
Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
Notes on the Scripture
Sporting events were big in Paulís day as well as in our own. Paul often uses figures from arena competition (at least twelve different references in his letters), including examples of runners, boxers, gladiators, chariot racers, and trophies. This would have been especially meaningful to the Corinthians, because their city was the center for the Isthmian Games, second in prestige to the ancient Olympics. Corinth was a major city and very Greek in its culture. So Paul's comparison of living for God and running in a race was as easily understood by the Corinthians as by us.
The sports metaphor translates easily into Paul's cry for a temperate lifestyle. Any athlete training to win an event knows the necessity of foregoing excessive indulgence in food, drink, or other pleasures of the flesh. Paul considers his body to be subject to himself, not vice versa. He disciplines his body and its urges. He, and not his body, determines what he will eat and drink, when he might lie with a woman, etc.
Athletes, however, run with great uncertainty. Even the most dominating figure in a sport can lose. In fact, every athlete will eventually lose unless he dies or retires early enough. But Paul runs his "race" with the certainty of victory.
But Paul runs with certainty. He knows that salvation is his, and ours, if we run the race to win it.
The important point here is that, to find God's salvation, you have to try to win it. Endless remorse over the sins of life, without a real effort to repent and reform, is not going to cut it. We are fighting for the most important thing in the universe and we must give it our best effort! We all know that we will not overcome sin without God's grace, but we must fight, and fight as hard as an athlete trying to win a race — with our whole heart and our whole mind.