Here is Paul’s own account of how he struggled with his carnal nature and how he gained victory over it. In 1 Corinthians 9:25–27, Paul describes this struggle in terms of an athlete going into training for victory in athletics:

Everyone who competes in the games [the Olympic Games] goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. [He is saying, ‘I’m a man with a goal; I’m a man with a purpose. I’m a man under discipline.’] No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:25–27 NIV)

Paul realized that he had to bring his carnal nature into subjection if he was going to succeed in his divine calling. This leaves every one of us with a question: Which is the master and which is the servant in each of us? Is the body the master and the Spirit just the servant? Or is the Spirit the master and the body the servant? I will tell you this: your body makes a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.

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