Don't Disqualify Yourself! - 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

27 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 9:24-27 (KJV)

I'm certain that Paul must have seen many people fall into sin during the course of his ministry. One example that comes to mind is Demas, a leader who was so beloved and respected by the Early Church that he is mentioned along with Luke in Colossians 4:14. But this same Demas who was once respected on the same level with Luke is mentioned again in Second Timothy 4:10, where we discover that Demas forsook the apostle Paul, abandoned his faith, and escaped into the world to spare himself from possible persecution.

People often make the tragic mistake of thinking that just because they have been successful in the past, they will continue to be successful in the future. But I have known many ministers of the Gospel who once experienced great success in the ministry and then slowly allowed their fire to go out. Whether they fell into sin or just became lethargic and complacent, the result was the same: They lost the cutting edge they once possessed in their ministries.

The primary reason people become discredited and shamed is that they don't control their flesh. Instead of crucifying the flesh and submitting it to the control of the Holy Spirit, they pander to the cravings of the flesh. As a result, they become dominated by the desires of the flesh, and those fleshly desires very deceptively lead them to fall into sin.

Paul was a great apostle who was filled with divine revelation and had preached to more people than anyone else in his day. Nevertheless, one of his greatest concerns was that after doing all he had done for the Kingdom, he might later become a "castaway"—the fate suffered by others whom he had known. Paul didn't consider himself so high and mighty that he couldn't imagine this happening to him. If the apostle Paul was concerned that he could become discredited after all he had seen and done in the service of God's Kingdom, I think it would be wise for you to be concerned about who is running your life as well.

Don't cut your flesh too much slack, friend, or it won't be long before it's running all over you and telling you what to do. You will reap the same result as others do when they refuse to discipline their flesh. In other words, you will eventually become broken by it. Don't join the ranks of those who were once used by the Lord but are now set aside and ruined because they refused to bring their bodies into subjection. Your reputation, your influence, and the souls of unsaved men and women are at stake.

Make sure you don’t become a castaway after all the good you have already done!

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