Summary: All of this got me thinking about training, and how we train ourselves as Christians. We too are running a marathon, the marathon of life. And there is training that can make run the race easier, make us more effective as Christians, more usable by God to
I have been watching Lance Armstrong ride in the Tour de France over the past couple weeks. The Tour de France is a bicycle riding event that lasts 3 weeks and thousands of miles. It is an amazing race, perhaps the equivalent is an event where a group of runners runs a marathon every day for 3 weeks. The Tour de France really is a rough physical test. Training for the Tour takes months and years. The commentators were talking about the training the riders did to get ready for the Tour, scientifically laid out so that their bodies can handle the punishment. I trained for a month and a half for Kilimanjaro with the stationary bike and stairmaster; these riders train professionally most of the year. They ride hundreds of miles each day, getting ready for the Tour. They want to be ready for the stresses and strains of the Tour when it is time. Whether a rider has success or not is rarely decided during the race itself, but usually during the training that they did by themselves, riding, training day after day, out of the limelight, so that when it was time to perform, to ride well, they were completely ready.
All of this got me thinking about training, and how we train ourselves as Christians. We too are running a marathon, the marathon of life. And there is training that can make run the race easier, make us more effective as Christians, more usable by God to accomplish His purposes in this life. We train on the fly, meaning when train as we go through life, but there is still training that we do as Christians. Paul writes about the training, how we should be training our minds and our attitudes as Christians. Last week we talked about perfection, becoming perfect, and how to go poly poly (slowly slowly) up the mountain of perfection. This week we get a chance to see Paul define perfection. Will you please find Phil 4 in your bibles.
2 I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians, you will hopefully remember, is Paul’s letter of joy to a church he planted himself. As Paul sits in jail, he writes and encouraging letter of joy to his friends, his fellow laborers in spreading the message of Christ. These folks share Paul’s mission in life; to tell as many people as possible about Jesus Christ. To tell people what He is like, what He did for them on the cross, what He can do for them if He is invited into their hearts. Paul loves this church, his friends, and he is ending the letter on a positive note, encouraging them to be wonderful people, to be people lead and influenced by God in all that they do. This is not a church without its little squabbles, but it is a great church nonetheless. Be all you can be, is sort of what Paul says to his friends at Philippi.
Paul knows and loves this church, and someone has brought him news of two women arguing and fighting. Remember, this was a personal letter, from a real person, to a real church. Sometimes I think we forget the origins of Scripture. Paul wrote this letter to real people, dealing with real human problems and who, like Paul, were also not perfect, but were striving and wanting to be perfect. Part of being perfected as people and as the church is to settle differences in personalities so that the overarching mission of the church continues. And not only continues, but continues well.
I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.