Monday, March 28, 2016

Training Up

I Timothy 4:8
“for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

I have heard this verse many times throughout my life, but today, as I have time to meditate on the words and let them sink in, this verse has taken on a new meaning. There is a short phrase at the end of verse seven, that has really impacted the way I live my life. All it says is, “train yourself up for godliness.” I have never trained for a marathon, or gone to the gym, but I have trained in dance since I was six years old, and that has to count for something, right? I still remember getting my splits for the first time, learning how to do double and triple pirouettes, and those glorious days where I could actually do fouettes and alisicone without losing my spot. Those days of harvest were the absolute best, but they didn’t just pop up out of thin air. I had to work hard and practice every single day; I was dedicated to the task and I had a genuine desire to be a better dancer. But no trick could compare to finally receiving my pointe shoes. It is every dancers dream to become strong enough to begin training in pointe, dancing on the very tips of our toes. And again, that moment didn’t just pop out of thin air. In fact, it took about seven years of training for me to finally buy those pink satin shoes when I was thirteen years old. My dance teacher even started a pre-pointe class for us girls, so that we could be better prepared and strengthened. Once I began pointe classes, however, I realized that the training really was not over. No, gaining my pointe shoes was only just the beginning. Soon pointe class began, and toenails were bleeding, calluses were forming, calves were cramping, and feet burned in pain. Learning to dance in those shoes felt awkward, and there were many times that I felt like giving up. But after months of practice, sparks began to fly, my body was growing comfortable to the pain and finally, I had broken my pointe shoes in. But alas, my shoes eventually wore down and I had to buy new, hard, pointe shoes all over again, re-experiencing all of the pain of dancing in new shoes, once again. The training never, ever stopped. Likewise, training for godliness need not ever end. There are times in my life where I have felt like I have arrived, as if I have become good enough, strong enough, godly enough, but there is no arrival in Christianity. No one is perfect, and it is not humanely possible to completely deny our flesh and submit to God’s will all of the time. We can never stop training, and the fight is never over, but a majority of the time, I live like it is. Yes, God has already won the war, but that does not mean that I should sink back and relax, never persevering to attain the prize of the upward calling that Paul talks about in Philippians 3:14. I need to be willing to submit to the Lord, and I need Him to teach me, and be my trainer in this painful, yet beautiful life. Jesus, may I look to you in times of great pain and joy. Be my strength. I want to be molded and formed into the likeness of your image, becoming like you in word and deed, but I can not do this on my own. Jesus, be the center of my life. May I be dedicated in yielding to your will, no matter the cost. “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 1:19-20)

Application: Tomorrow we hike agua for about thirteen hours. It will be hard and strenuous, and the Lord will have to be my strength if I am going to make it out of there alive. When I wake up, I will write the phrase, “train yourself for godliness,” on my hand, and as we hike up, I will pray that God gives me a disciplined and obedient spirit. 

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