In this section of my website I will be adding tips and tools on training in your faith race. In Hebrews 12:1, the writer tells us to run our race with perseverance. For the distance runner developing perseverance doesn’t happen overnight. There’s no fast track to being able to endure in long distance races. It takes consistent training. The same is true for running our race of faith. 1 Timothy 4:7b, 8 says, “…train yourself to be godly. 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.”
Over time I will add to this section practices or disciplines that I’ve used in my life that may be helpful for you. Runners are always sharing training tips. I’d love to hear about things you do to train yourself in godliness. It may be a Bible study technique or what helps you focus in prayer.
For now, let’s get started.
Training Tip #1: We can’t earn God’s favor. His love and forgiveness is given freely. All we have to do is receive His gift through faith.
For the non runner in the race of faith in Jesus Christ: Is this faith stuff all new to you? The entry fee to register for this race is free. Jesus paid the fee by dying on the cross for our sins. The following Bible verses help us understand God’s message to us about forgiveness and trusting Him for salvation: Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” There is no one who measures up to God’s perfect standard. Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Our wage or what we deserve because of our sin is death (meaning being separated from God now and for eternity.) But God made a way for us to be brought into relationship with Him. I Peter 3:18 says, “For Christ also died once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” The whole purpose for Christ’s death on the cross was to bring us into a faith relationship with God. John 14:6 makes it clear: “Jesus answered, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus is the way to a relationship with God, not our human efforts or good works. Ephesians 2:8,9 says, “For it is by grace you are saved through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no one can boast.” Knowing these facts is the first step. The next step is believing them and receiving Christ into your life. Romans 10:9 says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” John 1:12 says, “Yet to all who receive Him (Jesus), to those who believed in His name, he gave the right to become children of God.” You can receive Jesus and put your trust in Him through prayer. There’s nothing magical about the words you pray but God knows your heart. Here is a prayer you can pray that will help you express to God your desire to become His child through faith. “Father in heaven, thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross for my sins. I know I am sinful and I want your forgiveness. I believe in what the Bible says about Jesus dying for me and raising back to life three days later. I trust in You and receive this payment and Jesus into my life and heart. Thank you for the gift of eternal life.” If you prayed this prayer, I’d love to hear about it and celebrate with you. I would also like to point you to resources and information about growing in your new relationship with God. For more information about trusting in Christ: click here.
Training Tip #2: After we receive Jesus we should take steps to become rooted in Him and grow strong in faith.
Paul says in Colossians 2:6,7: “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught and overflowing with thankfulness.” We become rooted in Christ by reading and hearing his Word, the Bible. Use an easy to understand version of the Bible, like New International Version (NIV), English Standard Version (ESV), or New Living Translation (NLT). The book of John in the New Testament is a good place to start. Listening to the Bible taught at a Bible teaching church is important for being rooted in Christ as well as meeting other Christ followers (or fellow runners in the race of faith.)
Whether you are just starting the race of faith or a veteran runner, being rooted in Christ and strengthened in your faith is a daily discipline. Psalm 1:2,3 says, “But his delight is in the law (word) of the Lord, and on his law he meditates (thinks about) day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.” Being rooted in Christ through the Bible will ensure nourishment, fruitfulness, and strength.