Training IS Important!

Good Morning!!  Happy Monday After BLOOMSDAY!!!  Congratulations to all of you who took part in Spokane’s 42nd Annual Bloomsday Run!  This is Spokane’s annual 12K run in which over 50,000 people participate.  It is an incredible event and I will never forget my first Bloomsday race.  We were pretty new to Spokane and my husband and I thought we could just jump right into this race the week or two before it was going to begin.  We registered and didn’t think much about it until the day of the race.  We did NOT train for it at all, thinking it wouldn’t be a problem.  Let me just tell you that we learned our lesson for the next two months after that race.  Training IS important!!! 

What always amazes me about this time of year in the Pacific Northwest is that it is during this season that people begin to decide that exercise is a good idea.  With the weather changing and Bloomsday approaching, the parks, trails, and sidewalks are all of a sudden flooded with men and women ready to train!  This is the time of year when our attention begins to turn to our physical health.  In light of this, I want to challenge us this week to use this urge to become more healthy, but not just for our physical wellbeing but for our Spiritual wellbeing even more so!  We are no strangers to the need for exercise.  If you are anything like me you have over a half dozen gyms within a one mile radius of your home.  We are reminded quite often of the need to be physically fit.  We hear about the problem we have in America with obesity and we are very aware that if we want to avoid certain ailments in the future we must put in the effort needed to be healthy.  All of this is very well and good, and it IS needed, but I have to wonder if we are as continually reminded that we need to pay even more attention to the spiritual shape we are in?  I wonder if we know and believe that God wants us to be healthy, disciplined, and in shape people, but NOT just in our physical bodies.  He wants us to be healthy, disciplined, and in shape Spiritually even more so!  We are called to be Strong in our Faith, but we have to be willing to put forth the action, effort, and time it takes to train ourselves in this area.  This is NOT something that will happen by accident, it happens deliberately!  Something I have come to notice about our nation is that we lack discipline in MOST areas of our life.  We tend to look for the easiest or fastest way possible, we quit on commitments if they seem too hard, and we have this overarching mentality that the goal of this life is OUR Happiness!  We see this played out through the selfish choices we make.  What is concerning though, is that we do not see this lived out only in our physical or worldly lives, we see this lived out in our relationship with God and His body!  You see, we can put such an emphasis on our physical training, all the while becoming flabby, weak, and unhealthy Christians.  I remember this really hit me hard when I was in the process of losing my “baby weight” after my second child was born.  I went into “super train” mode.  I paid careful attention to everything I was eating, I began working out quite frequently, and I knew exactly what my weight was on any given day.  It was during this time that the thought hit me hard, “Was I taking just as much care in my spiritual training?  Could I see where I was building spiritual muscle?  Was I paying that close of attention to what I was feeding my soul and mind?  Was I being nourished by the Word of God, or was I living on junk?  Was I spiritually dehydrated or was I being quenched by drinking from the source of Living Water?”  As great as running in Bloomsday is, we are called to run THIS race with Endurance.  If you don’t believe we are called to this I want us to consider 1 Timothy 4.  Paul is describing to Timothy what will happen in these last days.  He tells him that many “will depart from the faith.”  They will NOT finish this race, but instead they will give up and choose what feels good, or what’s easiest.  Starting in verse 6 he then tells Timothy this, “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith…Reject profane and old wives fables and EXERCISE Yourselves toward godliness.  For bodily exercise if of SOME value, but godliness has value for ALL things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come!”  WE ARE TO EXERCISE OURSELVES TOWARD GODLINESS.  I want to give us a couple definitions so we can better understand our calling in this matter.  The word “Exercise” means to TRAIN.  In the Greek they used it to describe the rigorous training in self discipline that takes place before a race or for the gladiator contests.  If you see this word in Webster’s it helps to further define in for us.  Webster’s says that exercise means to “USE Repeatedly through bodily exertion in order to strengthen or develop physical fitness.”  Now “Bodily exertion” means to “Put forth action or effort.”  WE are called to exercise ourselves toward Godliness.  Godliness means “Doing that which is well pleasing to God with a GOD FOCUSED attitude!”  SO if we are to put this all together, what the Lord is telling us through Paul is that we are to USE our spiritual muscles REPEATEDLY through Putting forth Action and Effort in order to strengthen our spiritual fitness so we can do those things which are Well Pleasing to God with a GOD FOCUSED attitude!  I would love us to spend a few weeks before the launch of summer preparing to Train ourselves toward Godliness.  I don’t want you to think this is about a list we have to check off, or that we are trained all by ourselves.  It is actually the very opposite of that.  We have the BEST PERSONAL TRAINER, and NOTHING happens APART from Him.  We will discuss that next week.  For this week, I want to challenge you to meet with your personal trainer and ask Him to asses you.  In what areas are you strong spiritually, and in what areas are you spiritually weak?  What are the areas He would like to work out with you?  Feel free to writes these down and we will look at the plan of attack next week.  Verse 15 says, “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself Wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.  Watch your life and doctrine closely.  Persevere in them, because if you do you will save both yourself and anyone who hears you.”  Hebrews 5:14 talks about the mature person who has been trained by constant practice.  Let’s be Disciplined Disciples of Jesus Christ who are Mature believers, Trained by constant practice.  Remember, when adversity comes we cannot expect ourselves to rise to the occasion, instead, we will always fall back to our level of training!!  This is why my son reminds me all the time as he is in constant practice for basketball, “Mom, Grind Never Stops!”

Scriptures:  1 Tim. 4:6-8, 1 Cor. 9:24-27, Hebrews 5:24, 12:11

Ashley Possin