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Seeds of the Kingdom

Gold Medals

by Liz Griffin

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27, ESV

The apostle Paul knew all about the original Olympic Games and the excitement when the athlete received the winner’s crown, the laurel wreath, and was cheered by all the spectators. And these days we watch Olympic winners receive a gold medal while their national anthem is played.

In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Paul talks of being a winner in Christian life. I imagine it as a picture of us receiving a gold medal from Jesus at the end of our life. Paul explains how he strives to exercise self-control in all things. He disciplines his body and keeps it under control. He is trying to put into practice what he preaches to others.

Elsewhere Paul talks of getting ‘crowns’ by winning souls for Jesus (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20), and by fighting the good fight of faith (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
James writes of a ‘crown of life’ which is given to those who have persevered in the faith under difficult circumstances such as persecution (James 1:12).
Peter writes a special encouragement to leaders and says Jesus will give them a ‘crown of glory’ for good leadership and care of the flock put under them (1 Peter 5:1-4).

And finally John gives the words of Jesus to the church in Smyrna; ‘Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life’ (Revelation 2:10).

Our ‘gold medal’ or ‘crown’ will be an eternal reward given by Jesus in recognition of faithful, loving service in the kingdom of God. If we love Jesus and do our best for Him in this life He will be proud of us when he comes again. He will say ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master’ (Matthew 25:23).

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father what a happy day it will be when Your Son, Jesus, comes back again. We do want to be ready for Him and we want to hear Him say “Well done”. Please help us to understand how to run the race of life to win. Don’t let us be disqualified or give up, even though it may get hard at times. Amen.

Liz Griffin lived for 20 years as an expatriate in South Africa, Bahrain and Japan, as her husband Paul worked for an international oil company. Paul and Liz became involved with Ellel Ministries in 1991 as part of the ministry team and joined the full-time team at Ellel Grange in 1995. Paul and Liz teach and minister to those seeking healing in their lives and together have written two books, 'Anger - How Do You Handle It' and 'Hope and Healing For The Abused'.

 

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