In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Paul uses running as an illustration of his own discipline as a Christian in the race of life. He ran to win an eternal crown, and he encouraged others to do the same. The word “temperate” in 1 Corinthians 9:25, carries with it the idea of rigid self-control practiced by athletes who train to win the coveted gold medal.
As we run the Christian race, i.e., “the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1), are we running with a hit-or-miss spiritual regimen, or with purpose and discipline born out of a desire to please God? (John 8:29; cf. John 4:34; John 5:30; John 6:38).
The key to any good runner, whether physical or spiritual, is to run every single day, building up the stamina it takes in order to win the race, and to ultimately gain the victory crown (2 Timothy 4:7-8; Revelation 2:10).
—Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets