“You know,” Stan commented one morning, “we’ve talked quite a bit about the power of personal testimony.”
“You’re right,” I replied. “It’s pretty essential for each Christian to have a personal testimony that can be shared at any time to help another person see the truth of how a person’s eternal destination and life on this side of eternity can be changed.”
“Exactly,” Stan said. “And I observed another instance of that last night when I was talking with a neighbor.”
“He was talking about how he used to get up in the early dark every morning to train for running marathons. He said he would run for at least a couple of hours every morning. Sometimes more.”
“Good for him,” I replied. “That’s a great testimony for physical discipline to be prepared.”
“That was the jumping-off point for him,” Stan said. “My neighbor was talking about the difference that happened after he came to faith.”
“The jumping-off point?” I asked. “If what way?”
“He said that after he came to faith he continued getting up early every morning to run, but at one point he clearly heard the Holy Spirit say something like, ‘What are you training for?’ And it was that voice that caused him to reflect on what’s important and what’s not.”
I didn’t say anything, so Stan continued. “My neighbor said that he began to focus on what the apostle Paul wrote about concerning perishable and imperishable prizes.”
“Perishable and imperishable prizes,” I repeated. “What’s that mean?”
“The apostle Paul wrote about that in his first letter to the church in Corinth,” Stan replied. “Paul wrote about how the world will train to receive an award that is perishable, but that we as Christians are to train for the imperishable prize that comes from God.”
“So your neighbor changed because of what Paul wrote?” I asked.
“That’s his testimony,” Stan replied. “He said that he was convicted to realize that even if he won a marathon or some other race, the trophy he would get wouldn’t last; but if he trained to be and to do whatever God had for him, that would be the imperishable trophy.”
“My neighbor said he still gets up in the early dark each morning,” Stan replied. “And he’s still training, but he spends his time reading and studying God’s word, along with praying to be prepared.”
“Prepared for what?”
“Whatever it is God has for him to be and to do.” Stan replied.
Bible verses to consider:
And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 1 Corinthians 9:25.
Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. I Timothy 4:7-8.
Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6.
But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . self-control. Galatians 5:22-23.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you have provided the way for me to have the “prize” of life eternally with you when it’s time. Thank you, too, for how you want me to train on this side of eternity to work out the salvation you have worked in through the finished work of Jesus’ cross. I confess that too often I don’t train to be who you can and will use for your kingdom purposes. Please forgive that foolishness. And please, Father, help me in following every step of your lead so I do train by spending with you the time to see and to hear all you have for me to be and to do for as long as you keep me on this side of eternity. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Do you have the “prize” of life eternally with God when your time here is competed? If no, why? What’s in the way of accepting His free and gracious provision? If you are a Christian, how are you doing with training on this side of eternity for whatever God has for you to be and to do? What does that sort of training look like to you? If you sense the need for change in how you train for God, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?