I’ve been able to watch a bit of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics this week. It is always amazing to watch the world’s top athletes perform. The training programs these athletes undergo for just a few minutes of Olympic competition is inspiring.
As an Olympic athlete trains for the games, Paul instructions us to train for godliness: “Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7-8).
Training makes it possible for us to do things that would otherwise have been impossible.
What would a training program for godliness look like?
We would practice focus—removing those things that distract from our goal.
These are disciplines of abstinence like fasting, silence, solitude, simplicity, and rest.
We would practice action—adding things to our lives that help us reach our goal.
There are disciplines of growth like worship, bible study, journaling, confession, prayer
We would join a team—working together with others who bring out the best in us.
These are disciplines of community like hospitality, authenticity, encouragement, and submission.
We would find a coach—a wise mentor who can lead us toward the goal.
This is the discipline of spiritual direction through a pastor, counselor, mentor, or friend.
We would train for a purpose—eventually an athlete must enter the competition.
These are disciplines of mission like forgiveness, praying for others, working for justice, giving, serving, and proclaiming the good news in word and deed.
What about your training? Which of these disciplines have been helpful? What would you add to the program?