How Can We Train?by Buck Jacobs

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”

I Corinthians 9:24-27 NKJV

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.”

Philippians 3:12 NKJV

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV

We know that our race of life is a long race, a distance race as opposed to a sprint. How do we know that? We are told that we need “endurance” which we don’t for a sprint, and there are challenges that we will have to deal with successfully in order to complete our race and win or accomplish our personal best time. It is probably going to be more of a steeplechase with hurdles and small ponds to leap over than a nice even straight or oval track. Building endurance takes a practice of discipline over time. We can’t just go out and train like crazy for a week and then run marathons or triathlons. Endurance is built by diligently training over time. 

One key ingredient for success as Christ followers in the race of life is growing in intimacy with our Father through spending training time with His Spirit in His Word. Of all the training practices that He has made available to us this is the most essential. Time in His Word with His Spirit is to a Christ follower as mileage is to a long distance runner. No athlete has ever won an olympic gold medal without investing the needed amount of time training. No Christ follower will ever be his or her best without an intentional effort to train spiritually that many if not most believers are unwilling to invest. So, what’s our goal? Do we strive to be average Christians? Average is sort of lukewarm, the best of the worst and the worst of the best. 

Jesus expressed His attitude towards average in Revelations 3:15. It’s not a pretty picture. Without exception the heroes of our faith testify to the need for and benefit of daily time in God’s Word with His Spirit. If you now have a disciplined and consistent daily quiet time is it helpful? Share how it helps you. If not, might it be? What do you think? What is your experience? I once knew a man who ran for one hour plus every day to train for marathons tell me he didn’t have time for a morning quiet time. Really? Which race was his priority?

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