1 Cor.9:26,27 – 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 that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
This word, castaway, carries within itself a fragrance or impression of desert islands and ship wrecked sailors. Just the mention of the word causes me to envision Tom Hanks with Wilson on his desert island, or Gilligan and his crew and their unusual adventures, or the classic castaway story, Robinson Crusoe. The King James Bible used the word castaway while others preferred the word disqualified. Castaway seems to be more terrifying to me. To be cast off by the Lord is not exactly how I want my ministry to turn out. Paul was saying that it is possible to preach about Christ and not know Him for yourself. No wonder their is so much compromise and sin inn the ministry. Here is how Matthew Henry speaks about this warning.
“He sets before himself and them the danger of yielding to fleshly inclinations, and pampering the body and its lusts and appetites: I keep my body under, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away, rejected, disapproved, adokimos, one to whom the brabeutes—the judge or umpire of the race, will not decree the crown. The allusion to the games runs through the whole sentence. Note, A preacher of salvation may yet miss it. He may show others the way to heaven, and never get thither himself. To prevent this, Paul took so much pains in subduing and keeping under bodily inclinations, lest by any means he himself, who had preached to others, should yet miss the crown, be disapproved and rejected by his sovereign Judge. A holy fear of himself was necessary to preserve the fidelity of an apostle; and how much more necessary is it to our preservation? Note, Holy fear of ourselves, and not presumptuous confidence, is the best security against apostasy from God, and final rejection by him.”
Henry really hones in on what Paul was saying about protecting ourselves from being a castaway. Did you catch it? He said we must have a fear of ourselves, not a trust in ourselves. It seems the Apostle Paul and Matthew Henry are taking a position not popular today. Examine yourself closely and continuously, you may not have it as all together as you think.