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Aiming for the Prize

November 15 | Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 1-2; Hebrews 11:1-19

Aiming for the Prize

Run in such a way as to get the prize.
1 Corinthians 9:24
READ 1 CORINTHIANS 9:19–27

In the 1994 fictional movie Forrest Gump, Forrest becomes famous for running. What began as a jog “to the end of the road” continued for three years, two months, fourteen days, and sixteen hours. Each time he arrived at his destination, he set another one and continued to run, zig-zagging across the United States, until one day when he no longer felt like it. “Feeling like it” was the way his running began. Forrest says, “That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run.”

In contrast to Forrest’s seemingly whimsical running, the apostle Paul asks his readers to follow his example and “run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24). Like disciplined athletes, our running—the way we live our lives—might mean saying no to some of our pleasures. Being willing to forgo our rights might help us reach others with the good news of our rescue from sin and death.

With our hearts and minds trained on the goal of inviting others to run the race alongside us, we are also assured of the ultimate prize—eternal fellowship with God. The victor’s crown God bestows will last forever; we win it by running our lives with the aim of making Him known while relying on His strength to do so. What a reason to run!
By Kirsten Holmberg

REFLECT & PRAY
Jesus, help me stay focused on the reason I run: to share about You with those around me.
What is your “aim” in life? How is it similar to or different than Paul’s?

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SCRIPTURE INSIGHT
In today’s text, Paul illustrates his point with references to running. The Corinthians were very familiar with these word pictures because Corinth was home to the Isthmian games—a competition second only to the ancient Olympics. As Jesus illustrated His teaching with ideas familiar to His Jewish audience (farming, fishing, etc.), Paul utilized ideas familiar to his readers/hearers as well. To the sports-conscious people of Corinth, he talked about athletics. To the intellectuals of Athens, Paul quoted Greek poets (Acts 17:28). This is a reminder that teaching isn’t simply about dispensing information; it’s also about encouraging understanding by making the ideas relevant to one’s audience. Bill Crowder
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