Training is one of the greatest fundamentals of our Christian walk and can be one of the more neglected practices. Why is it we have Christians who have sat in churches for years yet do not know much about scriptures or how to share their faith? Some Christians act like they are being burdened when suggesting they form a habit of prayer, worship, and reading their bible. One of the saddest positions you run into are those who agree they need to practice these things, and their response is, “tomorrow”, but they never follow through.
Every Christian should be concerned about the development of their individual spiritual growth. No matter where you may be in your Christian walk you should always be concerned about growing in your relationship with Jesus. If we are not growing then we are dying. To ever think we are old enough and mature enough that we can just somehow put it into auto-pilot is just wrong. It doesn’t matter how old we are in the Lord we should still have practices that keep us strong, sharp, and in tune with what the Lord is saying and doing.
This is the reason training is so important. Here is a familiar Bible story to illustrate this point. We all have heard the story of David and Goliath. A small shepherd boy goes out and defeats a giant with a sling. The giant had a spear and sword, David had five smooth stones and his sling. David said he had killed the bear and the lion with just his sling and the giant would be no different. He said God was with him then and God would be with him now. Not to take any of what God did from this story because God truly was with David, but the sling was a very powerful weapon of its day. Here is what you should know about slingers of this day. Slings were long leather straps with a pocket. Slingers were as important in an army as the archers. Slingers could hurl their projectile as far as an archer, up to a quarter of a mile. Good slingers could hit any part of the enemies body they aimed at. Their projectiles would leave their slings at 60 even up to 80 MPH.
Judg 20:15-16 At once the Benjamites mobilized twenty-six thousand swordsmen from their towns, in addition to seven hundred chosen men from those living in Gibeah. 16 Among all these soldiers there were seven hundred chosen men who were left-handed, each of whom could sling a stone at a hair and not miss. NIV
1 Chron 12:1-2 These are the ones who came to David at Ziklag, while he yet concealed himself because of Saul son of Kish; they were among the mighty men, his helpers in war. 2 They were bowmen and could use the right hand or the left to sling stones or shoot arrows from the bow; they were of Saul’s kinsmen of Benjamin. AMP
1 Sam 17:40 Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. NIV
1 Sam 17:49-50 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. 50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. NIV
The point here is not to give a lesson on the sling David would have used, but to understand David had been using his sling since he was a small child and by this age was extremely proficient and very deadly with his sling. He said he had killed a bear and a lion with his sling. This is how confident he was with the use of his sling, he said Goliath would be like one of them. Now with the hand of the Lord with him in battle, unbeatable.
The point here is practice and the use of disciplines will give us an amazing edge in our walk with God. We start off learning to do something and may feel a little insecure. But over time by continual practice we become better at it and more confident.
Here are the three main reasons for us to be trained in Godly practices.
1.They help to discipline our flesh and form the right habits.
2. The more we practice something the better we become at it and our trust and confidence in God grows.
3. When we are trained we are confident in His ability in us which allows Him to call on us anytime to be used as He has need.
The serious problem which happens to many Christians is they learn to sit in a pew and get comfortable. We need to find those disciplines Jesus practiced and taught His disciples and never stop growing in our knowledge of them. Whatever discipline you begin to train in you need to become proficient at it.
There are many men and women who have been Christians for years and still struggle with practices of prayer, reading their Bible, hearing His voice, and spending quality time with the Lord. These are simple truths which they should have learned and become semi-confident at within their first year or two. Obviously these are the areas we will always be growing in but the question remains, are we still growing in these areas? Are we still going deeper or have we plateaued and become stagnant or just never learned certain practices? Remember you are either growing or dying, there is no in between.
Well the good news is, no matter where you are in your walk with Jesus you can learn and train yourself and grow as a Christian. We are never too young nor can we ever be too old to be used by God in His Kingdom. If you are just starting out find methods that will train and discipline your life and form habits that will keep you strong. But establish the habits which will be like a good tool you will use in spiritual growth your whole life. Remember it’s not the habit that gets us anywhere with God, but it does keep our heart in the right place in which God can speak to us and use us mightily.
Look at it this way, it is not the discipline of a consistent prayer time that gets us anything, but it is a consistent time with God that gets us where we can learn and grow. The more He communicates with us the stronger our walk becomes, and the more we keep growing deeper with Him. Our training and practice in Godly disciplines is a must for every Christian in maintaining a strong healthy walk with God. Look at this scripturally:
1 Cor 9:24-27
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. NIV
2 Tim 3:16-17
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. NIV
1 Tim 4:7-8
Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 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.NIV
But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. NIV
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. NIV
When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan. NIV
1 Chron 5:18
The Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh had 44,760 men ready for military service — able-bodied men who could handle shield and sword, who could use a bow, and who were trained for battle. NIV
1 Chron 25:7
Along with their relatives — all of them trained and skilled in music for the Lord-they numbered 288. NIV
Luke 6:40 A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher. NIV
35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. NIV
(Mk 6:46, Lk 4:42, 6:12)
Hopefully we can see through these scripture references how important training is. From battle ready warriors, musicians leading worship, to prayer or studying scriptures, all of life and godliness, it is the trained which have the advantage. It is the trained that know what to do and it is the trained God uses because He knows they are ready.