In today’s culture, many Christians are confused about the concept of winning. But too often we do not even know how to define what a win looks like. Pastors think that in order to have a winning church they must have a larger building, an increased budget, an effective worship team, a great children’s ministry. Business people think that having more employees, enjoying increased profit, and achieving prestige in their field amounts to winning. All these things are good, of course, and in one sense, they are a win. But Paul defines winning another way and brings us to the core of God’s message, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and how to obtain the prize.
“One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it” (1 Corinthians 9:24). Paul goes on to say that he does not just “beat the air” aimlessly, flailing around and running with uncertainty (9:26). He disciplines himself so that he will not become disqualified in the race. Too many Christians today are rushing around in a dozen different directions, pursuing various ministry endeavors and avenues of self-improvement. True, they might be doing many good things, but they are not really affecting the win that Paul is talking about — getting people across the finish line.
Let us choose to be as Paul. All around us are broken people, without Jesus, bound by sin and headed for an eternity without God. We must tell them the good news of Jesus Christ — that he died on the cross for them, that they can be clean and holy. Another win! Another prize!