STV webFCA Network Web

“…rather, train yourself in godliness, for the training of the body has a limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” –1 Timothy 4:7-8

My favorite scenes from the Rocky movies are the training scenes. They are vintage Stallone—the intensity, the discipline, the passion! I have vivid images of him punishing a side of beef, trudging through the heavy snows of Siberia and running mile after mile before the sun rises. Even though the outcomes of these fights were decided in the scripts, real-life outcomes are often determined by how we train and how we get ready for the inevitable storms of life.

In sports, it’s easy to see how our physical training influences our performance on the field. How we practice will largely determine how we play. Anyone who thinks you can be sloppy in practice but disciplined come game time hasn’t participated in sports. It just doesn’t work that way. The same is true for life.

In the military, Basic Training includes the intensity of Boot Camp, in which soldiers are exposed to extreme conditions that prepare them for the demands of battle. Our elite soldiers endure hypothermia, sleep deprivation and intense interrogation to prepare for the most dangerous of missions.

So why don’t we ever talk about spiritual training? Why don’t we talk about physical training? Don’t we have just as much at stake? Oh sure, we talk about daily devotions and quiet times or going for a run, but do any of these things imply discipline or sacrifice? Do they speak of preparation for battle? Do they suggest focus or intensity or purpose?

May I suggest something? It’s time to train!

Paul pushed Timothy to train in godliness, comparing that type of training to how an athlete prepares for competition. And Peter implores us, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith…” (1 Peter 5:8-9, NIV). With that in mind, here are some tips to help you train and get prepared for the demands of life.

For spiritual training, consider adding one of these disciplines to your regimen:
1. Memorize a verse every week. I used to do this in college, and God still brings just the right verse to mind when I need it most.
2. Meditate on a passage of Scripture. Repeat the passage several times and break it down so that you gain a better understanding of its meaning.
3. Magnify your example and your influence. Take risks and be bold in your faith! Push others by your example to pursue excellence and live for God in every circumstance.

For physical training, consider adding one of these disciplines to your regimen
1. Intensify your commitment. Revisit your “why.” Write down your commitment and goals and don’t let them out of your sight.
2. Intensify your consistency. Put it in your schedule and don’t miss the appointment.
3. Intensify your effort. Push your body a little past your comfort zone. It’s OK to feel a little sore once in a while.

The disciplines of training in godliness and training the body can seem painful—the early mornings in the Word, pressing on in prayer when it seems like nothing is changing, the extra repetitions, choosing healthier foods, resisting temptations. But the rewards are worth it. Hebrews 12:11!

Good health and godliness don’t happen by accident. In fact, good grades, an intimate marriage, a close friendship, a profitable company—nothing worthwhile happens by accident. Trust me, it feels good to train with intensity and purpose!

Will you be ready for the demands of life? Will your house withstand the storms? Take the challenge. It’s time to train!

*For more stories about faith and sport, visit, the official magazine of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. 

Copyright 2007 Sharing the Victory Magazine

A member of the webFCA Network of Sites
A Vertical Symmetry Powered Network