Average reading time is about 2 minutes
But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
- 1 Corinthians 9:27
This glorious contest is before us. The apostle seeks to inspire us to enter into a noble emulation, a competition in which will be seen no selfishness, unfairness, or underhanded work. We are to use every spiritual nerve and muscle in the contest for the crown of life. No one who does his best will fail in this contest.
All who seek for the prize are to place themselves under strict discipline. "Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things." Those who enter into a contest of physical strength for a corruptible prize realize the necessity of rigid abstinence from every indulgence that would weaken the physical powers. They eat simple food at regular hours.
How much more should those who enter for the gospel race, restrain themselves from the unlawful indulgence of appetite and "abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul." They must be temperate at all times. The same restraint that gives them the power to obtain the victory at one time will, if practiced constantly, give them a great advantage in the race for the crown of life.
Thus Paul presents the conditions which God imposes upon every soul who enlists in His service. The apostle fears for himself, lest he shall fail of bearing the examination test, and be found wanting, and he places himself under severe training. So the Christian today needs to keep strict guard over his appetite. He needs to subject himself to severe training, that he may not run uncertainly or at random, without seeing his standard and striving to reach it.
He must obey the laws of God. The physical, mental, and moral powers must be kept in the most perfect condition if he would obtain the approval of God. "I keep under my body," the apostle says. This means literally to beat back its desires and impulses and passions by severe discipline, even as did those competing for an earthly prize. Paul was ever on the watch lest evil propensities should get the better of him. He guarded well his appetites and passions and evil propensities.