Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Why is winning important for a Christian?

Runner in meImage by rajeshvj via Flickr

The Apostle Paul had a competitive spirit. After his conversion on the road to Damascus, God revealed to Paul his mission, and Paul strategically worked out this unique mission throughout his life to be a winner for the cause of Christ.

The details of Paul's mission:
  1. He felt the call of God on his life to preach the Gospel. Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! (1 Corinthians 9:16).
  2. He was called to be an apostle to the Gentiles. I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry (Romans 11:13, NIV).
  3. He had a personal ambition to only preach the Gospel where it had never been heard before. He felt the call of God to be a pioneer evangelist. It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else's foundation (Romans 15:20, NIV). that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in another man's territory (2 Corinthians 10:16, NIV).
  4. He had specific places in the Roman Empire that he desired to travel in order to spread the Gospel. He had big, hairy goals he wanted to accomplish for the Lord. Both northern Turkey (Asia) and Spain were on his agenda to visit. Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to (Acts 16:6-7). But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to see you, I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to visit you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while (Romans 15:23-24).
Why was the Apostle Paul so committed to his mission and goals in spreading the Gospel in the known world? He knew that God had a prize waiting for him in heaven. What this prize is, we're not exactly sure, but Paul had a vision of striving to attain something incredibly wonderful. Perhaps the prize was being with Christ for all eternity. Once Paul's race was over, He would be able to stand before his Lord and Savior and hear these beautiful words, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!" (Matthew 25:21, NIV).

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14, NIV)

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 (1 Corinthians 9:24, NIV).

No, I beat 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 9:27, NIV).

Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions (Colossians 2:18, NIV).

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