Train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 ESV
I must confess that I am one of those people that enjoy exercise. I like to run, I like to swim, I like to bike. I like to do weightlifting, aerobics, cycling classes, and yoga. I love competing in races. I’ve actually found that as long as I stay signed up for a race then I will actually make myself train for it. I get a little lazy in my exercising when I don’t have a goal or race in mind. I had the opportunity a few years ago to train a group of girls for their first ever triathlon. I had a blast training them but I think I enjoyed watching them finish even more! Training to compete in three sports is a lot of hard work but every one of those girls worked hard, finished the race, and finished well! I have to say that I could not have been more excited for them. There were some doubts and injuries along the way, but I kept telling them to focus on the finish line. Once they crossed that finish line they could call themselves a tri-athlete for life.
When I train myself for a race it is for a temporary finish line. There is always going to be another race and there is always going to be someone better or faster than me. If my life consisted of being number one and winning first place in every race, I would be living a pretty frustrated life. I train because I enjoy keeping in shape and pushing myself towards new goals, not to win first place. I have to fix my eyes, not on this earthly body but on the prize that awaits me above. You see, my finish line is heaven and standing before the presence of God Almighty. The things that I accomplish here on this earth are nothing compared to standing before My Lord and Savior as He proclaims, “Well done my good and faithful servant” (Matt 25:21a). This life gives me a lot of injuries, heartache, doubts, and fears so I have to keep my eye on the prize that awaits me above or I will get easily discouraged.
What am I doing to train for the prize of heaven? First, I have put my faith in Jesus Christ. I realize that without Him, I am fighting a losing battle and no amount of human righteousness is ever going to get me into right relationship with God. Faith and hope in the love of Christ has saved me from the hopelessness of this world and given me the assurance of eternal life. I also am training myself for godliness. I seek to serve Him daily, spend time in His Word and in conversation with Him. I try to be careful to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and follow His direction. I can’t say that I am always 100% obedient, but I am always working and training myself to be more obedient to God. I use the resources He has given me to share about God’s grace in my life and I try my best to glorify Him.
When I get discouraged, beat down, and frustrated I have the Holy Spirit to remind me that there is so much more than this temporal life. I am called to live a full and abundant life in Christ Jesus and to spend my time here on earth training myself to serve Him and to glorify Him in all that I do.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 ESV
So let me ask what you are training for? Are you meditating on the things of Christ or on the temporal world that looks a little bleak sometimes? Are you focused on honoring Him in every area of your life and allowing Him to be glorified through the good, the bad, and the really ugly? Are you feeling discouraged? Be reminded that our finish line is not here! We are simply in training to be more like Christ. So press on dear sisters, and don’t forget to keep your eyes fixed above!
Heavenly and loving Father, thank You for equipping us for this race of life and for coaching us and encouraging us through it. Thank You mostly for giving us a vision and a hope of what the finish line and life beyond the finish line looks like through Your Word. We pray that all those who will read this will be encouraged and strengthened to run this race for You with all their might and will be able to cross the finish line, exhausted, and spent but successful in running the race for YOU for Your glory. In Your Son’s name, Amen.