“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”
1 Corinthians 9:24-25
The Olympic Games recently started in Beijing, China. Hundreds of the world’s greatest athletes meet together in hopes of winning a Gold medal as they represent their countries.
Many of these athletes train their entire lives for this moment, and the best of the best will only get two or three opportunities to win the prize.
But these treasures are laid up on earth, “where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:” but we are to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal,” according to Matthew 6:19-20.
The earthy prize – the crown – sought for by most people is corruptible. It is inferior and temporal.
We Christians are to train for and run a spiritual race with a heavenly prize – an eternal, incorruptible crown.
Our race is not a competition with only one winner, for all Christians are perfectly capable of winning the incorruptible crown, so long as we take the race seriously and do what must be done.
We must live a temperate life.
To be temperate is to be moderate. Most of us, I imagine, struggle with moderation, especially in our culture of excess.
We are taught by parents or media to seek after the nicest clothes, best cars, and biggest houses. This is one way to know that the “prosperity gospel” preachers like Osteen and Furtick are false teachers, because they teach that excess, not temperance, is of the Lord.
We can eat whatever we want in mass quantities. We have “fast food” chains on every corner, and we know the there is access to medication that regulates our bodies so that we don’t have to.
We can binge watch television shows and immerse ourselves in a “metaverse” of social media and video games as we amuse ourselves to death.
Excess is the American way, but temperance is the goal, and moderation comes through discipline and dedication – similar to the rigorous training of those Olympic athletes.
Moderation should be the goal in every single aspect of our lives, whether it be food, clothing, social media, streaming services, phones, work, money, or any other worldly venture that stores up treasures on earth.
We must view temperance in all things as the primary means of obtaining our incorruptible crowns.
Start small. Give up some excess in one part of your life just to see if you miss it. I bet you don’t need many of the things you think you do.
Put down your phone for a few hours. Avoid the 24/7 cable or Internet news cycle. Stop watching tv during the week. Exchange binge watching for binge reading your Bible, and mark whether your life and attitude improves.
Most importantly, strive for that incorruptible crown that demonstrates your obedience to the Savior and improves your Christian testimony so that others around you might want the same kind of joy and content that you experience through moderation,