Regardless of when you start training, childhood or later, training as an athlete is an ongoing requirement to get better. For the christian, this training propels us forward to becoming more spiritually mature. Maturity produces an understanding of our identity as children of God, an understanding of how we have been equipped by God, and an understanding of how to operate in all that God has given us.
Putting the proper focus on training helps us understand what it is that we are called to do. Our training requires focus to remove the negative thinking patterns that seek to drive us into comparisons with others or cause us to give in to self-centered ways. Here are 3 steps with verses to help guide how we train:
1. God is first.
Matthew 6:33 (NLT) — Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
2. Focus on your work and don’t compare.
Galatians 6:4 (NLT) — Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.
3. Be willing to learn, and listen to your coach.
John 14:26 (NLT) — But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.
The Holy Spirit is our counselor, comforter, and advocate. In keeping with the olympian analogy, we could say that we are coached by the Spirit. We must follow His lead. We are the athletes that have to function in this world, but we are trained, strengthened, and prepared by the Spirit. He is with us to show us the way.
Overcome Pain and Obstacles
Life sometimes injures us. People injure us. In the course of training and running our race, we can get injured. Offenses happen in life, but we are to be slow to get offended. Persecution happens, but we have the promise of being blessed through it all. Injuries can come in different forms and by different means, but we have a healer in Christ. Jesus has already provided for healing and so much more through His death, burial, and resurrection. Keep this in mind:
1. We are able to win because of Jesus.
1 John 5:4-5 (NLT) — For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
2. Through Christ, we are able to gain strength to continue on with our event regardless of any pain that we may experience.
Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) — I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
3. Everyone faces challenges, but champion athletes overcome to obtain their prize. Athletes understand that when they set out to be their best, ultimately, they will face obstacles that could delay or derail them if they allow it.
Philippians 3:14 (NLT) — I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
4. Remember that God selected you for His team and has you covered.
Romans 8:28 (NKJV) —And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Question: What action are you willing to take to ensure you consistently train?