The Need Of Self-Discipline



1 Corinthians 9:24-27  =  Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.  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.  I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." 
1 Corinthians 10:1-5
"Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;  And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;  And did all eat the same spiritual meat;  And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.  But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.


Comment:  The apostle Paul in the passage presented to the Corinthians and Christians everywhere, the need to realize the danger of losing their reward by referring to two different things:

1.         First, the Grecian games (I Corinthians 9:24-27)

a.         Salvation is not achieved by being in the competition.

b.         All that compete do not achieve a reward.

2.        Second, All that were baptized unto Moses did not enter the land of Canaan  (I Corinthians 10:1-5)


1.        So  run, that ye may obtain”. (I Corinthians 9:24)

2.        With many of them God was not well pleased”.  (I Corinthians 10:5)




I Corinthians 9:25  =  …And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. …

1.        Temperate:

a.         The Greek word for temperate is Egkrateuomai pronunced  (eng-krat-yoo'-om-ahee); Meaning  to exercise self-restraint (in diet and chastity).

b.         Webster’s Dictionary defines temperate as being in self-control of one’s passions and appetites.

2.        The runner was to be temperate in preparation for the approaching games:

a.         Ten months he submitted to rules of the trainer.

b.         There was the constant exercising of his arms and legs.

c.         There was strict control  what he ate and drank; as well as getting the right amount of sleep.

d.         This was readily done in an effort to achieve a “corruptible crown”.

3.        The child of God must be temperate also in submitting to the rules of the trainer:  

Matthew 16:24  =  Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Colossians 3:5-11  =  Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:  For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:  In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.  But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.  Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;  And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:  Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

Galatians 5:24  =  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Comment:  This we should  gladly do in view of the fact that we are striving for an “incorruptible crown”.

a.         Being temperate or in self-control but the all the way and  not half way.

Matthew 6:24  =  No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Revelation 3:15-16  =  I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

(1)      The athlete who exercised self-control in eating, but not in drinking failed in the race.

(2)      The Christian needs to exercise self-control in “all things”.

I Corinthians 9:25  =  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

b.         Self-control must be continuous:

(1)      One day’s debauchery was enough to destroy weeks of training.

(2)      One lapse into ungodliness will undo years of training in Christian living.

B.        BE DECIDED:

I Corinthians 9:26  =  I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; …

Comment:  The runner who enters the race undecided as to the direction he is going never wins.  Progress is slow until the hour of decision, then we fly like an arrow to its mark.  Remember what Paul said:  Philippians 3:14  =  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.   As runners in the race toward the crown of life we need:

1.        Freedom of action. 

2.        Patience in well doing.

3.        Singleness of purpose.

Note:  This basically the content of what Paul wrote in Hebrews 10:1-2  =  For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.  For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

Revelation 2:10  =  Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.


I Corinthians 9:26-27  =    So fight I, not as one that beateth the air. But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection:  lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

1.        The apostle Paul in fighting the good fight of faith made his blows count, he did not waste his energy  --  “Not as one that beateth the air”.

2.        Some fight an imaginary foe, that is they put on a sham-fight, not the real thing.

Matthew 23:5-7  =  But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,  And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,  And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

Comment:  The enemy the Christian faces is real and is very skillful.  If we are in earnest as we fight we will lose.

3.        Some fight human beings  -  but flesh and blood are not our real enemy.

Ephesians 6:12  =  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

4.        Some fight the enemy in other people, when the real enemy is in ourselves.

Luke 6:41-42  =  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.

5.        Paul fought himself first.

a.         In bringing every thought and evil inclination into subjection.

b.         Self is the worse enemy that mankind faces.

c.         When we fight any other enemy we are as Paul writes “beating the air” or fighting a sham-battle.

d.         Unless we control self, we will be rejected.

e.         When we have conquered self, we are then better equipped to carry the battle to other fields of conflict.

f. As Paul wrote:  (ASV)  But I buffet my body, and bring it into bondage:  lest by any means, after that I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected.  = I Corinthians 9:27



1.        Be Temperate.

2.        Be decided.

3.        Be effective.


Matthew 5:13-16  =  Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

1.        The light will not burn brightly unless our wick is trimmed in our lamp, This is our heart.  Is thy heart right with God?

Proverbs 4:23  =  Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

2.        The light can not be seen if we have not cleaned our lamp, this is what the world actually sees in the way we live.

Acts 22:16  =  And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

3.        The light can not be seen if hid.

4.        The light must be held high for all to see.


1.        Are you  temperate and decided that you may be effective as a Christian?

2.        There will not be any in  heaven that are not self-disciplined.

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