“The Hub” has always been an athlete.
Tall, muscular, coordinated – a natural.
I’ve known him since we were both nine years old, in fourth grade. He was awesome back then, too.
The biggest thing I remember about him is how he could run – he was FAST!
We would have all sorts of track and field events back then. And “The Hub” was almost always a winner in the sprints. He always ran “anchor” on relay teams.
It was very cool to watch him run. He had this style where his whole body leaned forward, his hair would fly in the wind, and every part of his being would strain toward that finish line. He reminded me of a thoroughbred stallion…really!
As he grew older, he was an all-star softball player. Still fast, still strong – a natural.
“The Hub” knows the value of staying in shape – the importance of physical training.
Our society places much emphasis on physical fitness. Billions of dollars are spent each year on health supplements, gym memberships, diet programs, workout equipment, and the like.
But our “Bible Pick ‘Ems” for today emphasizes a different kind of training. Spiritual training.
“…train yourself to be godly. Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come…This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God..”
(1 Timothy 4:7-8, 10)
What does it mean to train for godliness?
Well, what do we do for physical fitness?
1) We watch what we eat – Likewise, spiritual nourishment is essential.
What do we feed our souls? Do we regularly spend time in the Word? Are we hiding it in our hearts, committing it to memory? Are we applying its words to our lives?
“But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night.” (Psalm 1:2)
“I have hidden your word in my heart…” (Psalm 119:11)
2) We exercise, do weight training, to increase our strength – Likewise, it’s necessary to increase our faith muscles, too.
Are we developing our faith by using our God-given abilities in the service of the Church? Are we stepping out of our “comfort zone” to stretch ourselves into new areas of ministry? Do we rely on the Holy Spirit to give us His strength and power?
“Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received…” (1 Timothy 4:14)
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” (Acts 1:8)
3) We work on developing stamina and endurance – Likewise, we must learn to be patient, and persevere through hardships and suffering.
Are we leaning on God to sustain us through any circumstance? Do we trust His timing? Are we obeying Him with patience?
“For you know when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete.” (James 1:3)
“And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” (Romans 5:4)
4) We get plenty of rest – Likewise, it’s important to learn to rest, to have peace in the Lord.
Are we learning the secret of peace? Do we search for it, strive for it, pray for it?
“Search for peace, and work to maintain it.” (Psalm 34:14)
“Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life…” (Hebrews 12:14)
5) We have trainers and coaches – Likewise, we should turn to the Holy Spirit, to God’s Word, and to other believers for instruction.
Are we allowing ourselves to be taught, or do we think we know it all? Do we study the Bible? Do we pray for guidance and insight? Are we learning God’s wisdom?
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you.”
Training for godliness.
The word ”train” implies daily, sustained effort.
It takes practice to be skilled in a particular sport. “The Hub” didn’t become a good athlete overnight. He worked at it…hard. In the same way, it takes practice to be skilled in living the Christian life.
We need to work at it.
God does not expect us to be perfect; He expects us to be growing. Our part in growing is exerting daily, sustained effort to apply His Word to our lives.
Highly skilled and talented athletes will lose their abilities if their muscles aren’t toned by constant use. Likewise, our faith will weaken if we don’t put it to work.
It’s so important…
We’re not just training for this life – we’re training ourselves for eternity.
“For God saved us and called us to live a holy life.” (2 Timothy 1:9)
Are you developing your spiritual muscles?
"When in doubt, search God out!"