Paul’s passion for the ministry, his passion for souls, is amazing. He wanted Christ glorified so much he was willing to give up so much in his life to make sure the way was clear to Christ. It was not about his rights. It was about others being able to see Christ as clearly as possible.
The metaphor of “winning” was not for him as individual. It was for the glory of Christ. If others are coming to Christ, and they aren’t stumbling over him… he wins. Run to win.
24 Don’t you know that all the runners in the stadium run, but only one gets the prize? So run to win. 25 Everyone who competes practices self-discipline in everything. The runners do this to get a crown of leaves that shrivel up and die, but we do it to receive a crown that never dies. 26 So now this is how I run—not without a clear goal in sight. I fight like a boxer in the ring, not like someone who is shadowboxing. 27 Rather I’m landing punches on my own body and subduing it like a slave. I do this to be sure that I myself won’t be disqualified after preaching to others. (1 Cor. 9:24-27, CEB)