Run the race. Life is not a casual stroll through a beautiful park but a race that is to be run. To run we have to discipline our bodies and minds to prepare. Racing takes both speed and endurance. Run the race to win, to get the prize that is waiting for you.
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.
Athletics were a big deal in Greece. It’s where the Olympics started. Athens hosted the Olympics, but Corinth had their own games, called the Isthmian games. Athletes came from all over to compete. They were very popular, and the athletes were treated like heroes much like today. Paul points out the key ingredient in all of those athletes was their discipline. They beat their bodies into submission to compete at the highest level. That was what got them the prize that brought fame and fortune.
As Christians, we are to live our life as if it was a race. We are not to live aimlessly but with the prize in mind. That prize is our eternal reward. While athletes in that day competed for a wreath, we compete for something imperishable, eternity with Christ. It is essential that we discipline ourselves and keep our eyes on the finish line. Strip away anything in your life that hinders you from running the race. Be disciplined in what you put in your heart and mind. Run the race in such a way that you will receive the prize.