1 Corinthians 9:25 – “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.”
Matthew 5:6 – “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
Have you ever failed at something? Have you ever given your all toward something and still come up short? It hurts doesn’t it? Trying to live for God sometimes feels that way. We know the sacrifice that Jesus made to give us forgiveness and we long to live for Him in return, but it often feels like we fail Him all the time. For many years I’ve asked God to make me the man He wants me to be: To lead people to follow Him, to live a holy life, to lead my family His way, to be a loving, kind, and strong husband and so on. I wish I could tell you that I am always all of those things, but I am not.
In 1 Corinthians 9:25 Paul talks about this imperishable wreath or crown: Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Yesterday we learned about staying on course and keeping eternity in mind as we run the race that God has for us. Today I want to encourage you with the promise that God has made for those who run the race well. Paul reminds us that those who win races here on earth receive a crown that will eventually be meaningless but that believers run their race for one that is imperishable, but what is the crown he is talking about? The word Paul uses here can be found in other parts of the Bible but the most similar use can be found in 2 Timothy 4:7-8: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness… This crown of righteousness that is promised to those who keep the faith is what makes us fit for heaven. Here on earth we are not perfect. We do the best we can with God’s help, but we still make mistakes; we fail Him. I find it so encouraging to know that there will come a day when I no longer falter in this race we run.
It is important and encouraging to remember that this world we live in is not our final home. We are just racing through it, and we must keep our eye on the prize or we will run off course. I’m going to date myself here, but Steven Curtis Chapman wrote a song that never ceases to give me hope; it is called “Not Home Yet.” If you have a moment, give it a listen, but let me leave you with these words from the song: “I know there’ll be a moment, I know there’ll be a place, where we will see our Savior and fall in His embrace. So let us not grow weary or to content to stay, because we are not home yet.” We may not be perfect yet, but when we reach our final home, we will be the best version of ourselves that God always had planned for us.