Quick Links Quick Links

RUNNING THE RACE: TRAINING

by Dana Druin

(From a talk delivered at the 2015 Ladies Retreat)

I am not familiar with running or racing – training – heavy physical activity is not my strong point.   But, I do know and admire those who work hard for their goals.  Track, Basketball, Volleyball, Football, etc.  These all take times of intense training.

When our daughter, Elizabeth, was in school, she played basketball and volleyball, she didn’t just go to the games, walk on the floor and start playing.  First she went to practices, did drills, exercises and weight training.  You can’t go from the bleachers and start, doing so could cause major hurt to you, your teammates, or opponents.

The same with our daughter, Rebecca, who did Karate.  She didn’t walk in and start breaking boards.  First she had lessons to learn the basic rules and movements.  Eventually, she worked her way to 2nd degree black belt.

When you are training, you need to know the rules, you need to know the game plan, and you need to know your opponent.

The Rules

There are rules everywhere.  In driving – speed limits, stop signs, signal lights and our “favorite”- “Construction Ahead”!!  If you don’t follow the rules (laws) in driving, you can be given a ticket to pay a fine, lose your license or you could cause an accident.

In school, our granddaughters tell me they have rules for how to act, to be nice, listen and follow directions.

As wives, mom’s, daughters, we all have rules. And as Christians in training we have rules.  Our great rule book the Bible gives us our rules.  In Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it; You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”  Paul tells us we can trust the scripture.  In II Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man(or woman) of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.  The Bible comes from God.  In Ephesians 6:1-9, Paul gives rules for children, parents, workers, and employers.   (Will you turn to Ephesians 6 with me)

6:1 Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. 2 Honor your father and mother which is the first commandment with promise: 3 that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth. 4  and you fathers do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. 5  Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; 6  not with eyeservice, as men-pleases, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7  with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8  knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord whether he is a slave or free.  9  And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.

Following these rules will help us to do God’s will.

The Game Plan

OK, we are on the team, know the rules, now What??  Do we all play 1st base?  Are we all quarterbacks?  NO!  There are coaches to evaluate the strengths and abilities of each of each player, placing them where they are needed or best suited.

As Christians, our “Coach” is God, Jesus Christ, The Holy Spirit.  Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:11-13 “He has given some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

This is God’s “Game Plan” He wants us all to have unity of our faith and salvation and become mature in the Lord.

 

The Opponent

Now we’re ready to play, but we need to know our opponent.  How skilled they are.  Are they just tall or are they tall and good; are they slow or fast?  Are they sneaky or honest,  just or unjust?  Once in a basketball game, Elizabeth was given the job to guard a player 7 inches taller than she is and probably 80 -100 pounds heavier.  Though it was hard – She kept her away from the basket – not allowing her close enough to get easy baskets.  She did her job.

As Christians we find our opponent in I Peter 5:8, it says “Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking who he may devour.

The devil is seeking but verse 9a says, “Resist him, being steadfast in the faith.

So…., How do we resist the devil?  God through Paul has given us a visual “Game Plan” to help us resist the devil.  To fulfill God’s  Game Plan.

Ephesians 6:10-18

10        Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

11         Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil

12        For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of

this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

13        Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having

done all to stand.

14        Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

15        and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16        above all taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked

one.

17       and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

18        praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to the end with all

perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

OK, Let’s take this section apart.

First, we are called to be strong – in ourself – no – in the Lord and in His Might.

Why are we to be strong?  Because as followers of Christ we are in a battle, and in a battle we to need to put on God’s armor as verse 11 tells us to be able to stand not fight, against the wiles of the devil.  Because verse 12 tells us our opponent is not flesh and blood, but against the dark powers of the world.  We are to stand firm in God against spiritual warfare.  It is a supernatural foe we have to face:  Unseen, Powerful, Cruel & Crafty.  This enemy is supernatural.  We as Christians cannot fight on our own power.  It is God’s battle and it can only be fought in God’s power and God’s armor.

Jesus told us in His model prayer to pray for deliverance from the evil one, Matthew 6:13.   For he is a crafty serpent. II Corinthians 11:3, “But I fear, lest somehow as the serpent, deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

II Corinthians 11:14  And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.

What are we to do?  Ephesians 6:10 tells us to be strong –  Again, are we to be strong in ourselves – no – In Government programs, no – in church programs – NO! We are to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of HIS might. 6:10.  Ephesians 6:11 tells us to “Put on the whole armor of God that we can stand against our enemy.

As Christians this armor is not something to be put on occasionally, but it should be permanent.  Notice the wording; having girded, having put on, having shod items already in use.  To help us visualize the armor – Paul associates our spiritual protection to that of a Roman soldier.  Let’s pick it apart and put it all together.

Verse 14 Having girded your waist with truth.

The Roman soldiers main clothing was a tunic, a square or rectangle piece of material with holds for the head and arms.  A loose fitting garment would not be appropriate for fighting so they would gird their waist with a belt to hold it together to allow freedom of movement and eliminate the chance of being snagged by the enemy’s sword.

As a Christian we have the belt of truth to remind us that we are not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

Verse 14  Having put on the breastplate of righteousness

A breastplate was used to cover the heart which ancient Jews felt was the mind, and the stomach area which they felt was the center of our emotions.  God’s Breastplate of Righteousness wraps around me to cover all of me.  It is the practical righteousness of a life lived in God’s Word.  Without this “Breastplate” temptation may set in causing unfaithfulness.  The Breastplate of Righteousness is to live in daily, moment by moment obedience to our heavenly Father.  Isaiah 59:17 depicts Christ as putting on righteousness as a breastplate.  Guard your heart and mind with the breastplate of righteousness.

Verse 15 Having your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

A soldiers shoes are very important.  Protection from rocks, hot roads, and long marches.  If your feet hurt you can’t do anything.  The Gospel of peace for Christians is the truth that we are now at peace with God.  We have the confidence of knowing His love, His union, His commitment to fight for us when Satan attacks feet rooted in the solid ground of the gospel of peace.  Before our acceptance of Christ as our Savior, we were God’s enemy but now he is our defender.

Verse 16 Above All Taking the Shield of Faith, with which you will be able to quench all the

fiery darts of the wicked one.

There were two types of shields used by Roman soldiers; a smaller shield use for deflection and as a weapon.  The shield described in our text was the larger about 21/2 feet wide by 4 ½ feet high to protect the entire body.  It would be covered in leather that would be soaked in water that would quench flaming arrows.

Using our shield of faith, we trust God for everything.  Protection, Provision, help, Guidance, etc.  Our faith in God helps us deflect and extinguish the flaming temptations of the devil.

Verse 17a  And Take the Helmet of Salvation

Would a soldier go into battle without his helmet? No!  A helmet is used to protect the head.  To deflect Satan’s blows directed at a believers security and assurance in Christ, we need to put on our Helmet of Salvation.  Two of Satan’s most effective tools are discouragement and doubt.  Discouragement saps my energy, and causes me to put off  or turn from the direction God wants me to go.  Satan will never lay down his “sword” as long as we are here on earth.  We must keep our “armor” on until we leave this earth forever.  The helmet of salvation signifies our great hope in our salvation that gives us confidence and assurance in our present struggles.  They won’t last forever.  We will be victorious in the end.  I Thessalonians 5:8 – But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.

Verse 17b and(take) the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

The sword in this text is the one weapon to be used for aggression.  This weapon, God’s word, was used by Jesus in Matthew chapter 4 during the temptation, by Peter at Pentecost, Acts chapter 2. It is the perfect spiritual weapon of divine origin and power.  We should always have God’s word close at hand, in our hearts and mind.  Like the shield of Faith and the helmet of Salvation, ready to be taken up and used when a battle begins.

Following are 5 scripture references to demonstrate how the Bible is THE Source.

  1. The Bible is the Source of Spiritual Growth –

I Peter 2:2 – As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.

  1. The Bible is the Source of Power –

Hebrew 4:12 – For the word of God is living and powerful and sharper that any two edged sword piercing even to the division of joints and morrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

  1. The Bible is the Source of Guidance

Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

  1. The Bible is the Source of Comfort

Romans 15:4 – For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

  1. The Bible is the Source of Perfection

II Timothy 3:16 – All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

The Bible is the Source we have that is our most powerful weapon.  Scripture is not a broadsword to be used indiscriminately, but a dagger to be used with great precision.

PRAYER

Verse 18 – Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

Finally and not always counted a part of the armor we are told in I Thessalonians 5:17 to pray without ceasing.  Victory over Satan and his hosts demands necessary and diligent commitment to prayer.  Prayer is the very spiritual air that the soldier of Christ breathes.

I Corinthians 10:12 says – Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

Prayer is very important to me.  It is my lifeline to God.  We can think we are adequate on our own and lose our sense of dependence on God.  But I know I am nothing without Him by my side.  John 5:30 Jesus says in part I can of myself do nothing… because I do not seek my own will but the will of my Father…

Ephesians begins by lifting us up to the heavenlies and ends by pulling us down to our knees.

Let us be as Paul says in Philippians 4:12-14 – Not that I have already attained or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of me.  Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended, but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Jesus Christ.

Come to think about it, I am in training.  I still need all of God’s armor and I praise God that He has provided these tools to help me to reach the goal, to achieve the prize, my home in heaven.

 

          Dana is married to Terry Druin and they are members of the Sellersburg Church of Christ.




Leave a Reply

That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10