Train, Train, Train!!!

Posted: February 4, 2016 in Uncategorized

A little over a year ago my wife and I wanted to get healthy and stay healthy.  We made decisions to start running and working out.  Let me start out by saying I in no way wanted to start running.  I was a runner before and it didn’t last long. I wasn’t disciplined enough to stick with it in the sweltering Mississippi heat. I caved, and I quit, which brings me to my point.

Fast forward to right around Christmas of 2015. I have now logged over 300 miles for the year, which is huge! It’s 4:30 in the afternoon, it’s cold and it is pouring down rain.  I head to the park and I sit and think “do I really want to do this?” I didn’t, but I got out of the truck anyway.  As I was running in the nasty weather I wondered what people might have been thinking that passed by the park seeing me run in a downpour.  I didn’t care, I kept running.  I have a goal and that goal is to remain healthy and in shape!

As I was running my final mile the Holy Spirit stirred something inside of me.  I was reminded of this verse in 1 Timothy 4:7-8: Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather 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. (ESV) What I was doing was training my body to meet a goal of staying healthy and in shape.  If I stopped training I’d eventually be back at step one where a quarter of a mile would hurt my lungs!!

When I think of training I also think of the word discipline. It takes discipline to get out of the truck  on a cold rainy night to run a couple of miles to remain in good physical shape.  For some of us it takes discipline just to put on the running shoes!! I know, I’ve been there.  If I don’t discipline myself to run when I don’t want to, or when it isn’t convenient for me, or when the weather isn’t perfect then I will eventually get to the point of not doing what it takes to even put on my shoes.  We all know what happens if I don’t even discipline myself to put on my shoes! It leads to a lifestyle of swiss rolls, honey buns, cupcakes and Dr. Pepper, which leads to being physically unhealthy.

I understand that some of you guys really do not care about physical health, and I get that, I really do.  There is no shame in you saying you will only run if a bear is chasing you or some other vicious animal.  That was me for years, and this is not a writing trying to motivate you to do some sort of physical workout, but I will say you will start to feel much better if you do.  Physical exercise is a great stress reliever and is actually GOOD for your body!

Physical health is not the goal of me writing, and I’m not writing about me running in the rain for you to applaud my discipline and effort.  I tell that story to bring you the second half of my thoughts that night, which is the second half of the scripture.  Spiritual discipline has much more value than physical training or physical disciplines.

Many people live their lives as a Christian as someone who has given their lives to Jesus, but their actions do not reflect their salvation.  They are “good with God” and use each Sunday to put a check next to “go to church,” or “Pray before a meal!” Many people don’t understand what it means to be a Christian.  There is more to it than just checking boxes and making sure you’re “saved,” so you can go to Heaven when you die.  Jesus wasn’t murdered so we could be happy little Christians that live like Pagans.  Jesus wasn’t killed for you to be happy at all! Jesus wasn’t betrayed, brutally beaten and nailed to a cross for you to worship Him on Sunday just to turn your back on Him Monday through Saturday.

Jesus died to save us from our sins.  God looked on us in our depravity and knew that we could never save ourselves, so He sent Jesus.  Jesus took the punishment and death that we deserved all because of sin committed against a holy and perfect God.  Sin can’t go unpunished, that’s why Jesus took the punishment for us and satisfied God’s wrath.  When God calls us to Himself and we answer that calling and put our faith in Jesus and believe that He died for our sins and in three days he arose, and we confess that with our mouths, then we are saved.  But it doesn’t stop there.

Salvation is the beginning.  I believe salvation is a process that keeps going until we meet Jesus in eternity.  Instead of being happy, we are called to be Holy because He is holy. (1 Peter 1:15-16). Being made holy is a process in itself, it’s called sanctification. It’s simply the process of being made holy.  To be made holy we have to DISCIPLINE ourselves! It doesn’t just happen.  There are things that we have to do which finally brings me to “the point.”

We learned that physical training is of some value but spiritual training is of greater value because it lasts longer and echoes in eternity.  The purpose of spiritual training or spiritual discipline is “Godliness.” To be like God, to imitate God, to be just like Him. (Ephesians 5:1) At the point of salvation we aren’t like God, it takes work to be like Him and that is where these spiritual disciplines come into play in our lives.  Spiritual disciplines are much like physical disciplines.  For me the physical disciplines are 1. Put on my shoes 2. Get in my truck and drive to the park 3. Get out of the truck 4. Set my GPS watch so I will know when to stop running 😉 5. Move my feet and legs in a running motion for as many miles that I plan to run.  These are all things I have to do to achieve my goal of running and being in shape.  Spiritual disciplines look like this.  1. Reading your Bible 2. Praying 3. Fasting 4. Being a good steward 5. Silence and solitude 6. Serving others.  There are more that we could name but these are just a few.

Long story short, as a Christian we have to practice these things, even when we don’t want to.  All of these lead us to godliness.  It does’t just happen. We don’t wake up one day and “BOOM,” we are just like God! We have to put in the work.  As a Christian our goal is to be like Christ.  This means we do these things even when it hurts, even when we don’t want to and we will start to see a change in our lives.  We will start to see the fruit of the Spirit in our lives (Galatians 5).  We will start to give God glory, build each other up and we will start to tell others the good news of Jesus and the saving grace we experienced.  Our lives will change drastically, much like mine has.  It takes work but it’s worth it.  In my life the work is worth it physically but even more so spiritually.  When others look at me I want them to see Jesus, not Steven.

Take your Christian life serious and dive into the spiritual disciplines.  I would love to recommend a book that I have recently started reading.  It’s called Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney.  This book has been a great read, and it is also full of great ways we can discipline ourselves spiritually to obtain godliness.  Check it out here Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

In Christ,

Steven

Comments
  1. Josh Bolen says:

    Good stuff. Thanks for sharing

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