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True Athlete

John Cassian | September 27

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 9:25

“Paul placed the result of the battle simply in the discipline of his flesh and the submission of his body.”

Would you like to hear what a true athlete of Christ said who competes according to the rules and laws of the contest? He said, “I so run, not as uncertainly; I so fight, not as one that beateth the air: but I chastise my body and bring it into sub­jection, lest by any means when I have preached to others I myself should be a castaway” Notice how he made the main part of the struggle depend on himself, that is, upon his flesh, as if it depended on a sure foundation. Then Paul placed the result of the battle simply in the discipline of his flesh and the submission of his body. “I then so run not as uncertainly.” He doesn’t run aim­lessly because he is looking to the heavenly Jerusalem. He has set a goal and is directed swiftly toward it with­out any swerving. He doesn’t run aim­lessly, because, “forgetting those things which are behind, he reaches forth to those that are before, pressing towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” He always directs his mental gaze there and runs towards it with all speed of heart. Then, he proclaims with confidence, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”

All Scripture references are taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version. Excerpts from the early Church Fathers are in the public domain, but were organized and arranged for daily reading in Day by Day with the Early Church Fathers, © 1999 by Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts. (No longer in print). Used by permission and in accordance with sections 3.3, 3.4, and 3.5 of Hendrickson’s “Rights and Permissions”. All rights reserved.

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