The Importance of Training

One of our Inspirational Devotions

photo courtesy of Si B

What is the importance of training to an Olympian?

Like many of you, I enjoy watching the Olympics. Seeing world-class athletes compete in skiing, skating, swimming, gymnastics, soccer, track and field, etc., is engaging to say the least. As a citizen of the US, I am always rooting for our men and women to do well, even though I don't know anything about their personal lives.

Is this their defining moment?

For me, one thing that is a little "over the top" is the drama that the announcers create leading up to a specific event. If a medal is on the line, the athlete's performance in the next sixty seconds is described as the greatest moment of their entire life. Since the athlete is often a teenager, it is difficult for me to imagine that there would be nothing left in life to pursue after this moment. 

Greatness is not measured by the medal

While it is certainly great to win a medal, the greatness of these athletes is not found in their Olympic event that took place under the spotlight of world-wide television coverage. Their defining greatness is found in the four years of daily training that leads up to the games. Every athlete knows the importance of training. If the athletes are indeed great, it is because they demonstrated the discipline to practice and prepare while no one was watching and before anyone knew their names.

A Biblical perspective 

Here is a Biblical perspective on the importance of training:

Charles Spurgeon once said, If I had twenty-five years left to live, I would spend twenty of them in preparation. To God, preparation and training is everything. Moses was trained by God for forty years before his time came to return to Egypt and face Pharaoh. David was anointed by Samuel approximately twenty years before he was publically recognized as King of Israel. It took that many years before David was ready to be an anointed servant of the Holy Spirit.

It is during the time of spiritual preparation that God deals with our hearts and refines us to be ready when God's time comes. E.M. Bounds said, Nothing is too hard for God to do if he can only get the right kind of person to do it. God knows the importance of training. He takes his time preparing us so that we are the right kind of person for the task assigned.

What is your treasure?

To the follower of Jesus, our life work and achievements may define us, but they are not our treasure. After his conversion to Christianity, the Apostle Paul devoted his life to be a missionary. While his missionary journeys certainly defined him, they were not his treasure. Jesus was his treasure. Our value and significance are not rooted in what we accomplish for God. No matter where Jesus leads us, no matter what Jesus calls us to do, our achievements do not determine our worth to God.

Enoch walked with God for 300 years, then God took him from the earth. But what did he do? What did he accomplish? We don’t know. The Bible never tells us. I believe we can conclude from this example, that our relationship with God is more important than what we accomplish for God.  

photo courtesy of lrargerich

Run in such a way as to get the prize. 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 (I Corinthians 9:24-25).

More Olympic Stories

Here are four lessons that use stories from past Olympics to illustrate Christian principles. They include discussion questions for your Sunday School or small group. Click on the links to read them.

A Devotion on Friendship

A Devotion on Christian Disciplines

A Sunday School lesson from Proverbs on Friendships

A Devotion on staying motivated to finish well.

You are encouraged to share these lessons with your friends.

Author: Paul Schlieker

For any reuse or distribution of The Importance of Training or any of our free Bible study materials author credit and web address is required.

Discussion questions for your Sunday School class or small group?

1. What event in your life did you think (at the time) was your "defining moment"?

2. In your achievements, what percentage of your time was devoted to training and what percentage was devoted to performance or achievement?  In your opinion, did you learn more from the training or from the performance/achievement?

3. What do you think God is preparing you for now?

4. How can you remember that Jesus is your treasure, not achievements?

Please email us with questions or comments

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