Do you remember this old cliché ? Like me, if you do remember this idiom, you were probably raised way back when and was either a "Yankee" or "Dodger" baseball fan. For the cliché was coined by the famous old Yankee catcher Yogi Berra.
Yogi was certainly not a seminary professor, but he accidentally stumbled into one of the greatest doctrines of our Christian life. ( 1 Cor 10:1-13) You see, it doesn't matter who is ahead, at any given point in the "game of life", only those who hold out and win in the end. And one doesn't necessarily have to receive the prize to be counted, in God's eyes.
In ( 1 Cor 9:24-27 ) Paul draws from his knowledge of the " Isthmian Games", that were held every two years near Corinth. Paul also stresses "self control". To be a winner, one must train diligently.
Paul then ends this passage ( 1 Cor 9:27) by changing the "metaphor" , " I buffet my body", from his opponent to referring to his own body. You see, Paul wanted to make sure he would not lose his reward, in the end. ( 1 Cor 3:14 )
Salvation is a free . ( Ephesians 2:8-9 ) But rewards, for those who are saved, are earned. The quality of our service is the criterion. These rewards are often spoken of as "crowns". ( 1 Cor 9:25 ) ( 1 Thes 2:19 ) (2 Tim 4:8 ) ( James 1:12 ) ( 1 Peter 5:4 ) ( Revelation 2: 10 )
Sometimes it's a long journey, from start to finish, in this game of life. Many hurdles must be challenged. Satan never challenges whom he already has, only those who are standing for Christ.
Regarding the unbelievers; He blinds their minds. ( 2 Cor 4:4 ) He snatches the Word from their hearts. ( Luke 8:12 ) He uses men to oppose God's work ( Rev 2:13 )
With regards to the Christian: He will tempt us to lie ( Acts 5:3 ) He will accuse and slander us. ( Rev 12:10 ) He will hinder us. ( 1 Thes 2:18 ) He employees demons to attempt to defeat us ( Ephesians 6:11-12 ) He tempts immorality ( 1 Cor 7:5 ) He sows tares among us. ( Matt 13:38-39 ) He incites persecution against us ( Rev 2:10 )
Paul also emphases that even though we all run life's race, some of us will fail. ( 1 Cor 9:24) However, we can choose to avoid disqualification and finish well. ( 1 Cor 10:13 ) In other words, as we go through this game of life, God won’t give me more than I can handle. Be ready to recognize the escape route, God provides.
There are many examples of falling in the scriptures. ( Numbers 20:12 ) (Genesis 13:8-13 ) ( 1 Tim 6:9 )( Judges 14:1-3 ) ( 1 Samuel 13:8-9 ) ( Eccl 2:1-11) ( Col 4:14 ) And, on and on, just check the scriptures.
Nevertheless, these examples of falling, should not be a reason for our excuse, as we travel down histories path. God has given us a spiritual " escape hatch"., which is His Holy word. ( Hebrews 4:14-16 ) (Exodus 16:4 ) ( Deut 8:2 ) ( 1 Chronicles 21:1 ) ( Job 1:12 ) (Matt 6:13 ) (James 1:13 ) ( Ephesians 5:1-4 ) ( 1 Thess 5:18 ) ( Hebrews 12:28-29 )
Yes, It ain't over till it's over. The Yankees won a many game, throughout history, in the "bottom of the ninth inning". So can you.
Are you now in the ninth inning of life ? Are you struggling to get from " third base" to home ?
A big God translates into big courage. While a small view of God generates no courage. The longer we live, dedicated to God's eternal principles, the greater He becomes in us. You see beloved, it's not Him who changes ( Malachi 3:6 ) ( Matt 28:20 ) but us instead.
Just open your hearts door , and pour out your troubles to him. ( Psalms 66:5 ) ( Isaiah 8:12-13 ) ( Isaiah 35: 4) ( Colossians 3:2 ) ( 2 Tim 4:18 ) ( Hebrews 11:1 )