But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
As we discussed previously, the apostle Paul compared the Christian struggle with training for a sporting event (1 Corinthians 9:24-25). Athletes put in great effort and much time to prepare to compete—and all for a temporary reward. How much more should a Christian sacrifice for the eternal crown God offers?
Paul applied this to himself. He strove diligently to grow in self-discipline, obedience and endurance so that he would pass the test. He did not want to disappoint God or those he had preached to—he wanted to partake of the fulfillment of the good news with them (verse 23).
Paul said he could become disqualified. He did not believe that once you are saved, you are always saved. Learn more about what the Bible teaches on this in the article “Once Saved, Always Saved?”