My husband recently signed us up for a 5K. On March 1st, in two weeks. Now if you’ve read my “About Me” page, you know that I don’t run. Nor have I ever had the desire to run. But in 2 weeks I am supposed to run a 5K? Really? So, what does someone do who is supposed to run a 5K in 2 weeks? You guessed it. I started running. Well, not exactly a full run, more of a run-walk. I ran for 1 min, and then walked for 2 minutes for 2 miles. We all have to start somewhere, right? Well, I was running by my friends house and she saw my running shoes, my running gear, my stopwatch and said “Are you training for something?” Yes, I guess I am.
What are YOU training for?
I’m training to run a race. So, what does it mean to “train” for something? I looked up the word “train” in the dictionary. It means to “exercise in order to prepare for an event or competition”. Check. That is exactly what I’m doing! But, that wasn’t all. To “train” means so much more!
- to create by teaching
- to teach and supervise someone
- to educate for a future role or function
- to develop behavior by instruction and practice
- to cause to grow in a certain way by tying and pruning it
That last definition is my favorite! Prune means to weed out unwanted or unnecessary things.
Train=to cause to grow in a certain way by weeding out unwanted or unnecessary things
What are YOU training for? (verse)
We are all training for something. We are all preparing, creating, teaching, educating, developing and growing…for something. Are we training for godliness, or grumbling? Are we preparing our hearts for God, or ourselves? Are we developing greed, anger, laziness or righteousness?
What are YOU training for? What are you preparing for? How are you developing? Growing?
At bible study the other day, we were talking about fighter pilots. We have an air force base in our town and many of the women in our church are pilots wives. We discussed how they have to train an tremendous amount of hours for the very unlikely chance we will go to war. Our military trains for war every single day. They are preparing their hearts, minds and bodies to automatically react and respond in a certain way. They are training. They are preparing for a potential future event. They are creating our military force, they are being taught to fight and protect, they are being educated about war and every aspect of their roles and responsibilities to work as a team, they are developing a standard behavior by repetitive instruction and practice, and they are growing in knowledge and skill and weeding out the unnecessary elements so they can be the best they can possibly be for their duty and the people they have been called to serve.
Are we training for war? Whether we realize it or not, there is a war going on around us. A spiritual war against an enemy that is far more dangerous, an impending devastation on humanity that is at constant work to devour and destroy. One that is growing in power and intensity.
We went to see The Hobbit last night and as with all the Lord of the Rings movies, I was impressed by the spiritual comparisons. I will spare you the movie summary. But just as in the movie, there is a spiritual darkness that is enveloping us, closing in on us, and gaining strength. And we, as followers of Jesus Christ, have a choice. We can sit back and ignore the reality of this darkness, or we can unite together, preservere and fight the good fight (2Tim4:7).
My friend could tell I was training for a race by what I was wearing and what I was doing. Can your friends and acquaintances tell what YOU are training for? Do they know what we are preparing for? Can they tell we have been developing our behavior, and our character? Would they say that we are training for a spiritual battle?
What do we need to do to train ourselves spiritually? Read God’s word. “Train yourselves to be Godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” 1Tim4:7-8. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” We need to grow to become more like Christ and weed out unwanted and unnecessary things. John 15:2 says, “He (God) cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.” God prunes us! He helps us to identify what is unnecessary in our lives! I’m so thankful we have a personal pruner and a personal trainer!
How are we preparing to fight? Ephesians 6:12-13 tells us, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so that will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.” We, my dear friends, are either training and preparing for battle, or we aren’t. There is a battle, a war, already taking place around us. It’s against a powerful, unseen force that is deceptive and enticing. If we aren’t grounded and standing firm in the Word of God, we will not be able to resist it. It is essential that we put on EVERY piece of God’s armor; truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation and God’s spirit. Read all of Ephesians 6: 10-17.
Paul says it beautifully in 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.” If I’m going to cross the finish line, I have to start the training, I have to run the race. I just started running today. I didn’t start because I love running, but because I had the end in mind. My race is before me. Its already marked out. I’m already signed up as a participant. Am I going to run to finish well, or am I going to wait to start running the day of the race? I could do that but I’d be missing the journey, the experience, the joys and trials of the training. Training is something that we must look at as a need, as a joy, as a blessing, an opportunity and a privilege. Our soldiers see their training as an honor and a privilege. They are a small part of something much bigger than they are, united to fight a battle against an enemy that threatens to destroy their freedom. How much more so should we see our training in righteousness in the same light. And how much more is our spiritual enemy out to destroy our freedom that Jesus Christ paid for on the cross.
So, I have a choice, I could have begrudged my husband and said “no I won’t do it”, or “I’ll try but I doubt I’ll be able to do it”, or “I’ll try but its going to be really hard and there is going to be a lot of better runners than me”, or “I will run it to the best of my ability amd with perserverance, I will train and prepare myself for this race. I will take on the challenge as an honor and privilege.” In the end, I want to proclaim, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.”
It is my choice. It is your choice. What are YOU training for?