Show Up Bruised (if necessary)
We are concluding our series on “Finishing Strong.” If you recall, Paul admonishes us to run the race to get the prize. That is a very important phrase, because it not only encourages us to run, but to finish - well. My final thought on the subject comes from another statement of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:26-27 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 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.
Did you catch it right at the end of his statement? He is concerned about being “disqualified.” When we consider who Paul is, and how much he has done for the kingdom, how can a person like that even think of being disqualified? Paul has had (personal) conversation with Jesus, instrumental in planting churches everywhere, wrote almost one half of the New Testament, and lastly considering all Paul has done, how can he have something in HIS life that would/could disqualify him? Because he is human and frail like the rest of us- that’s how. Paul is well aware that his life is an example to those he instructs, and if his life is out of control - it voids his message.
I contemplated the thought of being “disqualified.” Can you imagine the joy of finishing a grueling marathon race only to be officially disqualified because you were caught cheating? What about us? Can we be disqualified once we reach our spiritual finish line? I believe so. In Matthew 7:23 Jesus uttered these stinging words, “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Imagine happily going to church every Sunday only to find out in the end, your lifestyle has disqualified you, and heaven will not be your eternal home. Perhaps these words of Paul should serve as more than a mere admonishment, but strongly considered as a warning. Sound advice says that we should be willing to do all we can to make it to heaven, even if it means beating our bodies. Better to show up battered and bruised than not at all.
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