September 30, 2014
There he is. He’s been up all night. If you’ve been with us the last couple of days, you know what he’s writing and to whom. He’s almost to the end of one of his letters. The rhythmic regularity of the occasional drop of water echoes off the cold walls of the prison, and the light of the lamp is now competing with the small ray coming from a window near the ceiling. Staring at the new patch of light on the floor, he finishes this sentence.
“…training it to do what it should.”
Paul knew that athletes live, eat and sleep their sport. He understood the rigors, the devotion, the sacrifices, and the quest to be the one to win. If you’re a competitive runner, he could’ve easily been describing you. That up-at-dawn discipline inside you? The dedication toward winning your next race? Paul got it.
But unlike the runner who trains for a race, we train during one. We train daily and compete daily, don’t we? So with that in mind, notice carefully his choice of words. “Training” (a process) ”it” (the body) “to do” (to act, proceed) ”what it should” (the right thing). Paul wants us to train our eyes to notice the lonely, our ears to hear the helpless, and to deny the flesh. We’re to run to Christ, run away from sin, run to those in need, and to do it all the time.
And he knew that in order for us to do that, we have to live, eat and sleep the Word of God. You know…like athletes. The kind that — like Paul — train to win.
For Discussion: Yesterday I asked for your definition of a Christian athlete. Amazing responses. Did you catch Ashley’s? She wrote, ”Someone who trains like a lion and lives like a lamb.” Wow. Incredible. Tomorrow we’ll finish our study, but as you may have realized, Paul isn’t talking about a concern for how the body looks, but he’s claiming the kind of spiritual discipline in his life that athletes have in their sport. Are we training our lives?