The end of summer and the start of NFL training camps are sure signs that the football frenzy is just around the corner. Even NFL players—the best of the best—need continued training, or the prize at the end of the season will slip through their fingers.
But do Christians need spiritual training? Absolutely. The Bible is quite specific in this regard. There’s no confusing playbook jargon or jumbled mishmash of X’s and O’s here. In some ways, the training concepts for a believer are much simpler than what football players have to digest each year as they prepare to play. First, we must acknowledge that spiritual training starts with God’s grace. God gives us Spirit-filled hearts that desire to follow him (Ezekiel 36:26–27), and his Spirit powerfully guides, empowers and equips believers to seek after the things of the Lord.
Here’s a 10-step training regimen every believer should follow when pursuing God’s glory:
1. Study and meditate on Scripture often. The Bible is our ultimate training manual. Hebrews 4:12 speaks to Scripture’s matchless potency: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Those who want to train in God-glorifying ways will “delight” in God’s Word “as much as in all riches” (Psalm 119:14).
2. Pray continually. Just as praying daily is a critical way to keep your identity rooted in Christ, it’s also a vital part of the Christian’s daily training plan. Jesus prayed often (Matthew 26:36–44; Mark 1:35; Luke 3:21; 9:18) and encouraged his followers to “always to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). Prayer helps us direct praise to its proper destination (Matthew 6:9), confess our sins (Psalm 51:1–12), draw spiritual strength from the proper source (Psalm 3:1–4), and kill our pride.
3. Be intentional with daily devotional times… Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles calls spending time in God’s Word “getting fuel for the day.” Even on the days when the rigors of his job dictate extra physical work, he doesn’t sacrifice his devotional time. “For me, it’s non-negotiable,” he told me for my new book, “The Biggest Win.” “If I’ve got to get in at 6, I get up at 4. If I’ve got to get in at 4, I get up at 2. I know what it’s like not getting in the Word. My day seems to spin out of control.”
Foles has something in common with the writer of Psalm 119: “I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words. My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise” (vv. 147–148).
4. …But also be flexible with your time. Christians should be intentional in their daily devotions but shouldn’t let routine rule them. Create moments to worship God that are anything but routine. During the long football season, time is a luxury for Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. He has to be deliberate and resourceful to train himself daily. He fills his 30-minute commute with Christian podcasts or worship music. If he has a break between meetings, he’ll find a quiet spot and open God’s Word rather than hop on social media. Once the long day is done, he reads Scripture in the quiet moments before slumber.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Joshua Cooley