“But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I should become disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:27
Apostle Paul reveals how it is necessary to discipline/train our body/flesh and control it. Even though he ministered for the Lord, He could also become disqualified. There are two words we could learn from and serve as reminders: “discipline” and “control”
We will look at the original text of Apostle Paul’s words:
- The word “discipline/train” in the original Greek language is HUPOPIAZO – in English, it can be translated to “to keep under/to conquer” In other words, it means to defeat.
- The word “control” is originated from the word DOULAGOGEO – in English, it means “bring to subjection” In other words, it means to enslave.
When Apostle Paul used these words in his letter to the Corinthians, he was encouraging all of us to not discipline/train ourselves carelessly. It’s not like someone who is training to sing because they want to know how to sing, or like a child who must forcefully discipline himself/herself to complete school work. Instead, apostle Paul is encouraging all of us to have the willingness to defeat our fleshly desires, reminding us that the body (flesh) is a slave, not a master that controls our lives.
Our flesh and lives must submit to righteousness. Our mind, feeling, desire, words and actions must be controlled. Paul gives an example of his commitment to his life. Although he was successful with his ministry (as an apostle, teacher, author, evangelist, and preacher), he was still aware that his success is meaningless if he had not watched his life by disciplining his body/flesh.
In the books of Matthew and Mark, Jesus once said, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” His words revealed that our flesh must be controlled. We can’t follow the fleshly desires; instead, we must take control of our flesh so that it can be an effective tool to help us live in righteousness. If it is still difficult for us to make an effort to defeat our fleshly desires, imagine how much more difficult it would be to live in righteousness. A greater effort is needed as this would eventually lead to salvation.
There are several ways we can discipline ourselves to live in righteousness. One of them is by staying faithful in spiritual matters (reading and studying the Word of God, committed in our devotional time with the Lord, being faithful in attending services/fellowship). Remember that God gives us 7 days in a week, 24 hours in a day, how can we not use those times to live righteously?
Source: Article from GBI Gatot Subroto, Jakarta