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13th May 2012
Building spiritual muscle is crucial for all Christians. The apostle Paul warned his disciple, Timothy, to "have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly" (4v7), going on to point out that while physical training has some value, godliness is of value in every way.
How do we train ourselves for godliness, practically? The first step is to have a plan. If you decide to run the Hastings Half Marathon next year, you would be foolish to just wake up on the day and give it a go! Instead, you'd develop a plan probably six months in advance.
We make plans for many areas of our lives – careers, family, even our hobbies – but we can often not consider having a plan for our spiritual lives. What areas of your Christian life do you want to grow in? Maybe you want to know God better, grow in leadership, read more of the Bible. Whatever your goal, developing a plan is key to reaching it.
Having training buddies will help. Just as athletes train together, encouraging one another to keep going, so we are to "spur one another on" (Hebrews 10:24). A good diet is also important – record-breaking sprinter Usain Bolt didn't become a world-class athlete by living in McDonald's! In the same way, we need to hunger after God and have a good diet of His Word (the Bible).
Another key factor in training ourselves is perseverance. We build strength and stamina by exercising our muscles – doing the right things, and doing them consistently – and it's the same spiritually. It is building ourselves up in daily life that enables us to weather the storms when they come and to stand firm.
Good rest, too, is actually vital for strength and stamina. We can so easily find ourselves driven, stressed, burnt out and exhausted, but just as a weight-lifter rests after intense workouts, so we must learn to rest – not just spiritually, but physically too.
All of this training is for a purpose! As the athlete has an end goal, so do Christians. As the apostle Paul writes in this passage, godliness has value for now and for the future: we can know God now, and in the future we will know Him for eternity; we can be changed by God now, and we will one day be like Him; we can experience His goodness now, and when Jesus returns we will know unending joy.
Let's train well so we can run well and, ultimately, finish well!
Verses: 1 Timothy 4:1-10
Food for thought:
Posted by Santino Hamberis