I Timothy 4-6 (NLT link) 

Discover His heart: He gives us all the tools we need to run the race for Him

Several years ago my husband, Tom, bought me a great treadmill because I wanted to do some training and get in shape.  Knowing me like he does, he set up a little television and DVD player with remote controls as an incentive to get on it and tread.  The treadmill has served me well.  It has served as an excellent place to hang clothes to dry, stack boxes and collect lots and lots of dust. Obviously, I forgot that I was in training.

@ I Timothy 4
Train yourself to be godly. ‘Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.’” (7-8)  What a concept!  Train yourself to be godly because it isn’t going to happen on its own.  Just as it doesn’t help to buy exercise videos and not use them, it doesn’t help to have Bibles and Christian resources in every room of our home and not open them.  Just as it doesn’t help to watch exercise videos while we sit on the couch eating ice cream, it doesn’t help to read the Bible and not apply it to our lives.  Paul is reminding us to really pump it up and do some cardio for our spiritual hearts – we are in training!

Put on your training gear because here is Paul’s workout program.  Remember:  Know pain, know gain!

  1. Exercise until we break a sweat.  “This is why we work hard and continue to suffer, for our hope is in the living God.”(10)  Train hard, every day, don’t give up!
  2. Exercise with authority and determination.  “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young.” (12)  The enemy will come around tempting us to believe we can’t make it, we don’t have the goods. Remember Who gives us the authority and ability to train.
  3. Run every day.  “But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.” (6:11)  Run from evil and run to righteousness – every day.
  4. Exercise obvious abilities – keep them toned. “Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you.”(14)  Just like any athlete, we will lose the tone of our spiritual muscles when we don’t use them.  Using our gifts and abilities will keep them toned and effective.
  5. Exercise through meditation…and Paul doesn’t mean transcendental or yoga. “Give your complete attention to these matters.”(15)  The best exercise comes through focus and singleness of mind, no distractions.
  6. Exercise in public.  “Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.” (15)  Nothing encourages us more to press on than someone watching our progress, cheering us on.
  7. Add resistance training to your schedule every day. “Keep a close watch on how you live…stay true to what is right.”(16) “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)  Of course this resistance is most effective when we, last but certainly not least, follow Paul’s final training guideline:
  8. Surrender to the Personal Trainer.  “Submit to God, resist the devil…” (James 4:7)  Our personal trainer, God through His the Holy Spirit, guides and helps us through our weak moments and keeps us on track, “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.” (Romans 8:26) Uncertainty in our training program will bring discouragement, defeat and definitely some groaning, but the Holy Spirit will help us in our weakness when we don’t know if we can continue on.

If we follow Paul’s not for wimps training program, we will press on to our goal and become one lean, mean fighting machine for God.  Get on your mark…get set…go!

Moving Forward:  I’m in training today, ready to pump it up, follow the program and become strong and fit for the Kingdom.  I may even get on my treadmill…or not. 

Tomorrow @ Numbers 5-8