The Race is Won in the Toils of Training

2 Peter 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;

Every four years the Olympic Games literally draws the attention of billions of people.  Often athletes, who no one knew, suddenly become household names.  These competitors are afforded the opportunity to showcase their skills to throngs of fans around the world.  When interviewed, participants often share that this is the pinnacle of their athletic career.  This Olympic moment can last a few weeks for some competitors or only seconds for others.  Whatever the amount of time, it is extremely brief when compared to the time they spent training to get to this world stage.  For anyone who has competed in sports, you will understand that performing under the lights is by far the smallest part of your life.  An athlete’s life is usually comprised mainly of drudgery – the everyday toil of training.

Races are only partially won on the day.  They are mainly won in the hours, days, weeks, months and years that lead up to that race day.  Races are won when you defeat the voice in your head that says you should just stay in bed rather than driving to the pool at 5 am or skip the hill workout that was planned.  After all, buckling over a puke bucket isn’t on most peoples’ list of favorite past times. But successful athletes understand that they need to win the everyday battle if they want to win the war.

Oswald Chambers, in one of his devotionals “Get Movingfound in My Utmost for His Highest, talks about the drudgery of the everyday life of a believer.  We are not meant to be seen as God’s perfect, bright-shining examples, but to be seen as the everyday essence of ordinary life exhibiting the miracle of His grace. Drudgery is the test of genuine character.”

And we walk effectively through every day by adding to our character.  2 Peter 1: 5-8 says:  “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Like a successful athlete, we need to put good habits in place.  We need to have healthy routines which give us adequate sleep, which avoid unnecessary temptations (i.e. late nights in front of a screen), and which immerse us daily in God’s scriptures and in prayer.  These things allow God to work within us so that we can “add” all those good things to our character that Paul lists above.  We don’t gain salvation through any works of our own, because it is by grace that we have been saved (Ephesians 2: 8-9), but when it comes to our sanctification and becoming effective for Jesus, there is an act of our will that is required.

As Chambers so accurately communicates, It is difficult for us to do the “adding” that Peter mentioned here. We say we do not expect God to take us to heaven on flowery beds of ease, and yet we act as if we do! I must realize that my obedience even in the smallest detail of life has all of the omnipotent power of the grace of God behind it.”   How about you? Are you doing well through the drudgery of everyday life that God has called us all to walk?  Choose today to “add” to your character and watch God honor that choice.

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