Perseverance! I have recently been challenged and encouraged by the Spirit and the Word to; “… press on toward the goal to win the prize for which Go d has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) God has promised to supply His power and His strength to do His work in His way. Let us not forget that. He also encourages us from the book of Galatians where the Apostle Paul states; “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Gal. 6:9)
Of course, the proper maintenance of our “earthly tents” [our bodies] is very important as well. Getting the right amount of rest, eating the right foods, drinking plenty of water, and exercise all play into our ability to serve the Lord at our potential. I have run competitively in numerous races in the past and one of the most challenging aspects of the entire process is training. I could not have run any race in my ‘target time’ or even crossed the finish line respectively without some course of training. Even now when I work out, I am actually tearing muscle down in order to build it up. There is at times a “mind over body” aspect that comes into play. I set a reasonable goal and then set out to accomplish that goal. The Apostle Paul testified to the Corinthian church; “I beat my body and make it my slave…” (1 Corinthians 9:27) There is a time for rigorous and dedicated training!
In fact, training was at the forefront of the Apostle Paul’s thoughts when he told young pastor Timothy; “For physical training is of some value…” (1 Timothy 4:8) I used to have this verse taped to the inside of my workout closet. Whenever I would go to grab my workout gear there would be that verse to encourage and challenge me!
Finally, as the Apostle Paul was continuing to disciple and encourage young pastor Timothy, he gave him this insightful instruction; “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.” (2 Timothy 2:1, 3-7)