Today’s field trip with our class in Corinth was five miles south to the huge temple complex and gymnasium of Isthmia, home of the Isthmian Games in Paul’s days. Here’s part of my challenge to all the classes that joined us.
Be diligent—no coasting is allowed:
“Hold fast what you have” (Revelation 3:11b).
Paul gives a call to life-long spiritual growth: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
No coasting is allowed in life; we ought to be found doing what we were left here to do. Be cautious—no self-indulgence is allowed: “that no one may take your crown” (Revelation 3:11c).
How can we lose our crown? By becoming disqualified. Self-discipline is a fruit of God’s Spirit; we must not give in to laxity and self-indulgence. It used to be in Israel that they had boundary stones that marked off inheritances. God always condemned moving the ancient boundary stones.
Do you know what the church has started to do? We don’t set boundaries by saying we will not participate in anything that God hates (like watching bloodshed, seeing iniquity, nudity, immorality, and witchcraft).
Instead, we say that we are careful not to see too much of what God hates, or stay too close to what He has condemned. Beware of becoming conformed to the ways of this falling world. One of the most glaring Christian sins today is self-indulgence. We live in a world where people are suffering horribly, and yet we indulge ourselves. We spend too much of our time being beautiful and pampered. Paul who was probably the greatest born-again Christian who ever walked the face of the earth, said, “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Paul did not want to “step out of his lane” in the race and get disqualified. He was intent on finishing the course well. God always counts how we finish—not just how we start!