Out for your morning run? Sweat dripping from your brow? Good heart-pounding aerobic exercise? Isn’t that why we exercise? To strengthen our bodies and keep them healthy. Why? So they last us a good long time.
When was the last time you did a good military-style push up? It had been more than a few years since I attempted one. So recently I thought I’d give it a try. Plank. Down and P….U….S……H……! NOPE. Zero. Nada. Not even ONE! There was a time I could do 30! But lack of practice diminished my strength and therefore I was no longer able to do what I used to be able to do.
Spiritual training is similar. What we practice grows stronger and what we neglect grows weaker. One of the definitions of “train” is “to form by instruction, discipline, or drill.” (Merriam Webster online) It is not passive.
Paul tells Timothy to train himself for godliness (1 Tim 4:7); The Psalmist says The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those that practice it have a good understanding (Ps. 111:10). In 1 John we read… ...whoever practices righteousness, is righteous as he is righteous… (1 John 3:7). The author of Hebrews writes, But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil (Hebrews 5:14). Paul points out that All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for …training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).
To practice or to train ourselves is active and intentional. It is something we do, not something that is done to us. Just like with weight training, to practice godliness, righteousness, and obedience may meet with resistance. It is overcoming that resistance that strengthens us in godly living.
So are you up for the challenge?
After serving 16 years full time on the staff of America’s Keswick, Diane Hunt and her husband moved to North Carolina where she continues to serve part time as a contributing writer and Partner Care Consultant. She is also a Biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.