Mature Class Study, teacher Rick Coleman.

We’re in a race, not a sprint but like a marathon (26 miles, 385 yards). There’s a way to run and you can’t expect to win by not exercising every day. The race Paul described is different than a marathon. We can finish our course and win this race if we get in it. Anyone who runs this race has to count or weight what it will cost to run. We didn’t get into the race to drop out. God wants all of us to finish and win. We’re in the race if we repented – told God we were sorry and asked him to forgive us. Rick he needed God’s help and decided to get into the race on December 26, 1977.

I 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…by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Many are called but few are chosen (Matthew 22:10-14). Few can stand the pain of running a marathon. It’s important to finish what we start and to keep our vow to God. First we have to start or get into the race. If we’re going to strive for the mastery, we have to be temperate in all things. Temperance is the practice of always controlling your actions, thoughts, or feelings; the habitual moderation of the desires and passions.

Ecclesiastes 7:8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning…and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

Daniel purposed and determined to not defile himself. We have to be determined to please God by what we do or think.

Daniel 1:8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

It’s important to be temperate for the sake of others, not just for ourselves.

Romans 14:21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

We can’t rule our own spirit by ourselves. We need God to help us.

Proverbs 16:32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

We have to be diligent in prayer to ask God to help us have the characteristics he wants us to: faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity. Nothing good in life comes without effort.

II Peter 1:5-8 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It takes effort to get a good job. You have to work at it. We have to keep our body under subjection. We can’t run uncertainly but must keep our body under. Keeping our mouth under control is part of keeping our body under submission.

Proverbs 13:3 He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.

Some may have more trouble keeping their mouth under control because of their personality. We have to bridle our tongue to keep our body under if we claim to be a Christian.

James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

We can’t be trying to get back at or hurt someone by what we say if we’re keeping our body under.

I Peter 3:10…he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:

Jesus was an example for keeping our bodies in subjection. He said to take up our cross. Paul said “I die daily” (I Corinthians 15:31).

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

We’re human and have feelings but we have to ask God to help us die to the flesh so we can walk in the Spirit.

Romans 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

We have to mortify or crucify our flesh.

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

At the end of our life, we want someone to be able to say, we finished our course and kept the faith.

II Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: