1 Corinthians 9:24-27 "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 a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." While growing up, playing basketball was a huge part of my life. I have always been competitive, and I have always had a winners spirit. While playing ball I had to be the one creating, or taking the winning shot! My passions were too great to be sitting on the bench; I earned my position on the basketball court with hard work and dedication. I worked out everyday, for hours at a time. Perfecting my jump shot, layups, and foul shots. I ran my suicide drills and the paces of my defensive drills, so that I could be the best that I could be. I was convinced that I had to be in the game, because I made the difference. I have transferred that same passion for basketball, to my relationship with God and being a change agent in the earth. I'm a starter in the Kingdom! Why??? Because God created me to be a starter, he created me to be a winner. That same dedication and work ethic that I applied to be the best on the basketball court, is what I give to God. With "strict training" I spend time in my Word, in prayer, and I minister the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I counsel those in need. I intentionally look for opportunities to serve others. Man...I got to be in the game, ain't nobody got time to be sitting on the bench! I am a starter for God! I am a WINNER! Only the Winner gets the PRIZE!!! In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Paul discusses the dedication and training of the runner, and how he runs for the prize. He states that "The runner runs for the crown that will not last." Are you like this runner, expending all your energy, and time for a crown (prize) that will not last. Yes, it looks and feels great, and you are the victor, but it is temporary. Every game that I won was a sweet feeling, and a sense of accomplishment. But now, more than 30 years later, when I gaze at my trophies those once shiny pieces of tin, are now tarnished and worn. The engraving on the plaque that identified when and where the victory took place, is now long gone. This applies to all of the "crowns" that we have won in life without God; they are now tarnished and worn. Paul goes on to say "but we do it to get a crown that last forever." In other words only what we do for Christ will last!! To compete you have to be dedicated to your training (reading your Word, prayer, serving and ministering to others). You have to be focused and intentional in your purpose; this is how you obtain the PRIZE!!! Only Winners flow in this mindset. So let me ask you... are you a starter for God, are you a WINNER? What does the WINNER in you look like?
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