“Training Camp 9” By Pastor Joe
"Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.
1 Timothy 4:8-10. NLT I'm going to leave this verse at the top of the article. This has always been one of my favorite verses even before thinking about this new set of articles relating to training camp. I've had a number of great counselors and teachers, individuals who have helped me to grow my spiritual life, and all of them have said just about same thing about a very critical part of training: keep the Word of God before you on a regular basis. With repetition over the next number of weeks all of us should begin to embrace this passage into our long-term thinking. Football fans are now in their second week of the NFL season, and training camp is in the rear window. Both of our favorite teams are now 0-1, and this week we both face a big challenge to garner a victory! My team will be on the road this weekend, which means the fan support will be limited. Mr. Rogers’ team and fans will be in their local neighborhood this Monday night. There's something amazing about the support which comes from the “12th man,” especially a crowd totally supportive of the cause. It's never fun to be in a crowd where the people are shouting you down. It makes me think about Jesus; at one point the crowd yelled, “Hosanna, Hosanna in the Highest,” and a few days later the same crowd was cheering to crucify him. Our theme continues to be “Together is Better.” It's important we realize how desperately we need each other. Obviously our first priority is unto the Lord, He is Number 1. It's good to remind ourselves of the priority of different relationships in our lives. As a married individual, my number one priority is the Lord, my second priority is my family that being my wife first, and my adult children second. (Grandchildren might actually be second! LOL) After that, those included in the “family” circle is up to each person's choosing. The third major group on the list would be your church family, not specifically church attendance. Because of work, the fourth priority, family events, or other events with rigid time frames, make attending church events not always possible. But most importantly, are we praying, are we fasting, are we reading the Word, are we fellowshipping with brothers and sisters on a regular basis? The most important part of this priority list is the desires of your heart. Is your heart fully committed toward the Lord no matter what you're doing? God, His kingdom and His will for your life are of highest priority. This means sometimes the only thing you can do is go to work, come home, get proper rest and hopefully have an opportunity to gather with other followers if your schedule allows. The next priority group would be those things we would call recreation, advanced education/learning, exercise, or just enjoying nature and the wonderful things God has made available for us. Scripture is very clear we are to seek first God and His kingdom, and everything else we need will be added unto us! Ultimately each of us has to be led by the Holy Spirit when we decide what's priority number four, five, six etc. (you get my drift.) It's important we do like David did when he asked the Holy Spirit to search his heart. There will be times in your life where your walk with the Lord seems very difficult, challenging and you're going to want to possibly “bail,” especially when the crowd is not with you. You are in unfamiliar territory and sadly sometimes even those you would expect to be on your team might throw you under the bus. We desperately need each other in this journey. So, let's go team! Together is Better!