For all of you who have learned to enjoy running- God bless you! Recently Husband and I have begun running and I will tell you what, it will literally kick your butt! Praise the Lord he has agreed to run with me because without his encouragement I would probably end up walking most of our 4-5 mile runs. While I know that these runs are good for my body, they have also been good for my heart. No, not just in a physical way. Running has actually encouraged me spiritually in more ways than I would have ever imagined. I feel as though I am getting fit in two different ways. This past Friday I was given the opportunity to speak in front of a group of people and the Lord really laid 2 Timothy 2:5 on my heart. (This is probably because we have been a Precepts study on 2 Timothy and last week happened to be about chapter 2 and the soldier, the farmer, and the athlete.)
Anyways, after doing more digging the Lord taught me 5 key points based off of this verse. I would go into all of the details and tell you all of the stories that I included, but let’s be honest, then this post would be pages long and you wouldn’t read it. So I will give you a condensed version.
As Christians, it is important to understand that the way we live our lives and the way we walk with the Lord is a lot like the way we should play a sport or train athletically. The Bile makes a plethora of references to the fact that we are fighting for a prize or that we are running a race. There are 5 lessons that we can learn from athletes and apply to our lives as Christians
1.) Be disciplined.
- Simply wanting to fulfill God’s Will for your life is not enough. It takes discipline, not just desire, to grow closer to Him & to do His Will.
- 1 Corinthians 9:24-26, 1 Peter 1:15
- You must train regardless of the season.
- Runners run even when it’s cold, even though warmer weather is preferred
- Christians will experience seasons of spiritual highs and spiritual droughts, seasons of blessings and seasons of trials
2.) Avoid this that hinder your growth & cling to the things that promote growth.
- When athletes stop training they get out of shape, fat, loose strength, develop bad habits, etc.
- If you want to win a competition or tournament or get in shape not training or not eating well will never get you to your goal.
- Hebrews 12:1, Philippians 3:1, Matthew 4:4, 1 Peter 2:2
- Just as you must train daily in sports, you must train daily for God
- Feed yourself nutrients through the Word otherwise you will grow stagnant and will not get stronger.
3.) Follow the guidelines
- 2 Timothy 2:5, Colossians 3:23-25
- We know that Lance Armstrong worked hard, was disciplined, fed himself nutritious meals, one 7 Tour de France titles, medaled in the Olympics and made millions from sponsors.
- But recently we learned that he did not compete according to the rules so he was stript of every award he ever received.
4.) Find your Teammates
- Proverbs 27:17
- We are called to sharpen one another and make one another stronger.
- One ex: When running there are many times when I want to give up, walk or slow down, but with my Husband by my side he encourages me to be the best that I can be and to keep pushing me towards my goal. I am always stronger and faster with his encouragement and help.
5.) Keep your Eyes on the Goal
- Philippians 3:13-14, Romans 11:36, 2 Timothy 4:7
- We know how much time, money and energy athletes spend working towards a perishable goal. How much more should we be doing for an imperishable goal?
- The race of Christianity is not a race of who comes in first; it is a race of endurance. Who can finish with faithfulness.
So looking back we know that we must
- Be disciplined
- Avoid things that hinder our growth & cling to things that help us grow
- Follow the guidelines
- Find your teammates
- Keep your eye on the goal