“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24
Paul willingly gave up his freedom. He owed no one anything. But he gave himself in service to everyone: “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all…” Why? Why would Paul turn around, after being set free by Christ, and lay down his rights? He explained the reason, “…so that I may win more” (1 Corinthians 9:19). Paul was single-mindedly focused on winning.
After a radical conversion out of Judaism, he would become a Jew again to win Jews. After being set free from the bondage of the Old Law, he would put himself under its restrictions to win those under the Law. He would become weak to win the weak. He would “become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22). In this crucial passage, Paul uses the terms “win” and “save” interchangeably. To be focused on “winning” was, for Paul, to be absolutely absorbed with bringing people to a saving knowledge of Christ. Paul had been taken in so thoroughly by the gospel himself that he made sharing the gospel the rule for every one of his actions. Everything he did at every moment of the day was solely devoted to spreading the gospel.
What would happen if an entire community of people shared Paul’s obsession with this type of winning? What would it look like if a whole church caught the vision for sharing the gospel and saving souls that characterized the early church? What would we all give up doing? What would we all start doing? How would our lives look? What would our conversations sound like? What would happen to our church? What would happen through our church in our city, our nation, and the world?
These don’t have to be purely hypothetical questions. We can humble ourselves, seek out the face of God, and turn our hearts to Him. He is there. He has promised that He will listen and respond. He has sent us His Spirit, who will never leave us or forsake us. With His power at work in us and through us, miracles are possible. We can see hard hearts melt. We can see broken lives restored. Things that seem impossible can become realities. We can win now.
Let’s get ready to run in such a way that we, as a church, may win (1 Corinthians 9:24). I am going to give everything I have these next two years to win as many people as possible as quickly as possible. Will you join me?
Questions for Thought
- Read 1 Corinthians 9. What are some of the major things Paul gave up in order to focus on winning people to the gospel of Jesus Christ?
- Would you be willing to make similar sacrifices? What might that look like in your life?
Pray today for a renewed focus in your life on winning people to faith in Jesus Christ. Write down the names of three people you hope will come to know Christ through Mission 1:8 WIN NOW.
Learn more about Mission 1:8 WIN NOW here!
Dr. Robert Jeffress
Dr. Robert Jeffress is the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Dallas and a Fox News Contributor. He is an adjunct professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, consistently makes guest appearances on various radio and television programs and mainstream media outlets, hosts a daily radio and television program, Pathway to Victory, and is the author of 30 books. He and his wife, Amy, have two daughters, one son-in-law, and three grandchildren.