Paul says though he is free, he has made himself a servant in order to win more souls to the Lord. (1Cor 9:19).
Paul is encouraging those wayward Corinthians to remember they have a purpose that extends far beyond seeking their own happiness through sin or the freedoms they have over the law.
Paul compares the Christian life to running a race (v 24) -a thing that isn’t easy and takes endurance.
And then he gives them an important warning—He warns them to be careful or they may be disqualified (v 27) and gives the example of their forefathers who had become disqualified in the wilderness (I Cor 10) .
Those who had become disqualified in the wilderness, though fed and cared for daily in the very presence of the abiding Lord, had grumbled and complained.
And especially in our wilderness times, we often do the same.
We forget that we are cared for by the Lord, we grumble and complain, and spin our wheels trying to fix our lives to make ourselves happy.
The children of Israel wanted more. They wanted better. They weren’t living as servants on mission to bring glory to God, but they were still looking for paradise this side of heaven—a place it can never be found.
Instead of singing praise to the Lord and telling others of His deliverance, they questioned God’s goodness and complained about the daily bread He provided.
And the Corinthians were falling into that same trap.
And we do too.
Even though we’ve been delivered, we still spend too much energy to trying to make ourselves happy with circumstances of THIS life.
The children of Israel and the Corinthians were self-focused and sin-laden. And those two things always seem to go hand-in-hand.
When we are self-focused, we get sin-laden.
The minute the enemy can get us consumed with ourselves and our circumstances, he gains a foothold.
But when we turn our eyes upon Jesus, when we gratefully thank Him for our deliverance and purposefully, daily live to tell others of His goodness, we find the chains that tie us to trying to create our own happiness are once again broken.
We find ourselves free once more to run the race, no longer bound to this world for our joy, but with eyes on the eternal.
Is it easy? Certainly not!
It’s a hard race, but one with an imperishable crown (1 Cor 9:25)!
Oh friend, let’s keep running! Let’s help each other to keep running.
Let’s remember this life is not all there is!Let’s lift our eyes from this world and place them squarely on the One who works all things together for good as we follow Him! He brings beauty from ashes! He is making all things new!
What a Savior!