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Daily Reading: Nehemiah 9:22-10:39 ESV, 1 Corinthians 9:19-10:13 ESV, Psalm 34:1-10 ESV, Proverbs 21:13 ESV

Daily Verse: “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.” (1 Corinthians 9:19 ESV)

KERDAINO (2770): “To gain something,” Metaphorically, “to win persons, of winning souls in the kingdom of God by the Gospel 1 Cor. 9:19.”[i]

Gain something.

Winning means gaining something you didn’t have before.  Tennis tournament winners receive trophies, and professionals make money only if they win.  Paul wants the prize of souls in heaven.  In all he does, Paul wants to draw people to Christ.  So even though the apostle can do whatever he wants, Paul chooses to deny himself to help people meet Jesus.

Recently, someone commented on a blog post, “This life is hard.”  The person writes truth.  Facing complex challenges taxes anyone.  Even the most optimistic people, like my husband, have breaking points.  Without Jesus, we can’t overcome the mountains to win the prize.

Ultimate trophy.

Hearing God say these words to you upon your first meeting remains the ultimate trophy:

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’” (Matthew 25:21 ESV)

Winning praise from Jesus means you did your best to love Him and others well.  During difficult times you persevered.  Clinging to God’s promises carried through the times your faith wavered.  Understanding God’s ways differ from ours; His thoughts differ from ours.

Offering yourself as a living sacrifice to Jesus means not doing everything you want to do.  But instead, do what Christ did, love God and others to the best of your ability.  Jesus offers unconditional love; to offer the same to others, we must connect with the source.  When we do, we will win the ultimate trophy.

[i] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 137) Thomas Nelson

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