“No pain, no gain!” This familiar motto echoes from many coaches’ lips. As the discipline of training is required to excel in athletics, so we must also discipline ourselves in the Christian life. Such training takes time, vision, dedication, effort, and persistence.
Training for the Christian Life
The Bible lists three metaphors to describe believers spiritual training:
1. A race (1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Philippians 3:13-14; 2 Timothy 4:7-8)
- We are told to go into strict training in order to get the prize by focusing all of our energy toward winning the race. Our focal point—Jesus Christ. We can forget the past by confessing our sins to Jesus, our High Priest and advocate (Hebrews 4:14), and repent (turn away from sin, turn toward Christ). Like an athlete pressing toward the finish line, we too can persevere because we know our outcome at the finish line is worth any discomfort: spending eternity with God—sin free, pain free.
2. Exercise (1 Timothy 4:7-10)
- Repeated exercise tones the body. Repeated spiritual exercise also tones our spiritual muscles, shaping our faith and character. The results? We will live according to God’s will and attract others to Christ. This benefits us now and for eternity.
3. A fight (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
- That’s right, a fight! We’re called to be soldiers—fighting against real evil forces from without (Ephesians 6:10-18) and temptation from within (1 Corinthians 10:13).
As commitment is needed to succeed in athletics, the same holds true in the Christian arena. As an athlete must learn the rules to compete, believers also must learn God’s rules in His Word (2 Timothy 2:5).
Bible Reading Plans
I’ve found Bible reading plans helpful to keep me on track. If you don’t currently have a plan, the following links provide a variety: Ligonier Ministries
I hope you had a wonderful New Year! Let’s train to win this year!
Related Article: Training or Trying?