Living for the Gospel
Lord, thank You that You have called me a child of God. I am no longer a slave.
Read: 1 CORINTHIANS 9:19-27
 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.  To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.  To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.  To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.  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.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.  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.
Reflect: What are you willing to give up for the Gospel?
How does the Gospel shape your life? In this passage, Paul provides multiple illustrations of how it is the driving motive in everything he does. He chooses to adapt his lifestyle, give up rights, and deny himself in order to live out the Gospel. While the Gospel propels what he does, the need of others to know Christ guides how he expresses his faith (19).
Compromise is not an option. Paul uses a race analogy to make his point (25). A large plate of hamburger and fries on the morning of a race weighs down the runner. A daily intake of potato chips and fizzy drinks in the weeks leading up to the race impedes fitness. Attending temple feasts to eat meat leads people into sin, not to Christ.
Paul is not an ascetic. He is speaking metaphorically. He does not physically beat his body (27), but he does advocate self-control. Nor does Paul view personal denial as fundamental to faith. He was no wet rag for Jesus. In Acts 22:25-30, for instance, he boldly asserts his rights as a Roman citizen in order to gain a hearing for the Gospel. A Gospel-shaped life is one in which holiness takes precedence over personal gratification.
Consider the race you have been called to. What training do you need to add to your life?
Lord, help me to walk as one of Your own. May my whole life reflect my allegiance to Jesus.
Syndicated via Scripture Union, scriptureunion.org