...so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
Thoughts for Today:Let's look at the context of Paul's final statement in this ninth chapter -- he's been saying, "I've let go of my personal liberty in order to win people for the Lord." Why? Because he considered his life to be a race for a prize that would ultimately determine his reward (crown) for all of eternity. So even though he had freedom to do all things, he was very careful. He didn't want to cause another person to stumble even if it was through misunderstanding, misinterpretation, or mistake. He didn't want to disqualify himself for the prize.
We too must be cautious. When I look back over the last few years of my life, I don't have any regrets of abstaining from certain fleshly activities. I don't long for the things I let go of that would have limited my spiritual growth or been a poor example to others. Paul's message to us today is to use our liberty wisely. To keep our bodies under the Spirit's control and by being spiritually-minded -- we will experience life, peace and abundance.
Questions to Ponder:Are you as disciplined today in your spiritual life as you were last year? What's getting in the way? Is the flesh taking control once again? Don't be disqualified for the prize. Make sure to have your mind set on eternity. Romans 8:12-13: "Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation--but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live."