I’m not sure how many of you have ever trained for a marathon or some other athletic event. Sad to say I have not. So as I read this verse the other day I decided to look into what is involved with training for a marathon. I found a web site that listed out some steps. They said the first thing you have to do is establish your plan, decide how, when and where you will train. Next, you have to invest in the right equipment, such as running shoes and clothes. Third you need to learn how to best warm up, cool down and stretch. You should then began to examine what you eat and what you should be eating. What things to fill up on that will help you and give you the energy needed for running. Finally you need to begin running, however its best to start slow and build up your endurance. Last, stay focused and remain motivated. Training takes time and doesn’t happen over night.
In this verse Paul uses a word picture of what we are to be about as Christians. He says physical training is good and we should keep our bodies in shape and take care of ourselves. Yet, he says training for godliness is much more important, for it has lasting effects in this life and the one to come. Well as you can imagine my mind went into action to seek to understand how then are we to train to be godly? As I thought on this and examined my list of what one is to do to train for a marathon, I was struck by many good similarities.
First it is always necessary to have a good plan. How am I going to do this? What should I be doing that I’m not? I have learned it is great and needed to have a desire, yet desire and the want to are not enough. You must take action, you must have a plan and then follow it. Next as with running a marathon you need the right equipment. You need a good study Bible, a journal, good books that encourage your desire, accountability with others, the encouragement of others. Third, if you are just starting out and even for us who have been working at this awhile, you have to learn what works best for you. What things in our life build us up and help us and what things do we need to get rid of. Next we must look at the things and influences we are placing before our eyes, in our minds etc. Then we must look at what should be going in and be obedient to remove the hindrances and replace these with things that encourage our growth in godliness. We then must begin the training and journal the growth the progress as we watch the Lord transform us and grow us. And just as it is vital to stay focused and remain motivated when training for a marathon, we must also stay focused on our goal and remain motivated as well. There will be days when we will see real growth and feel close to the Lord and there will be days we fail and feel He is far away. Yet, we mustn’t give up. We must endure and press on to train for godliness. It won’t happen over night, it will take time, but the Lord will be faithful to make us more like Jesus as we seek to draw near to Him and as we pursue that which the Lord desires.
As a New Year approaches I do want to get into better physical shape and would love to train for a marathon, but more so I desire to train for godliness. For me this means setting aside time each day to study God’s Word, to meditate on what He shows me and to pray. It means reading books which inspire and challenge my walk with Him It means getting rid of worldly influences that distract my mind and to fill my mind with that which encourages my walk with the Lord. It means staying focused even on the days when I just don’t feel like reading or I don’t feel like praying. It means pressing on daily to know Him more. I challenge you to train for godliness and let me know what things help you and what things don’t. This new year may our goals be more lofty than just loosing weight , let our goal be to know Jesus more.