"Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather 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" (1Timothy 4:7-8, NIV).
When football players train, they exercise in order to build strength and endurance. They lift weights. They run. They know that the game is tough. They put effort into it, because they want to win.
When Christians train, they also exercise in order to build strength and endurance. They pray. They read and study the Scriptures. They know that life is tough. They put effort into to it, because they want to win.
Football players will think about their goals and about the possible tactics of their opponents. They will think ahead. They will succeed when they are not caught off guard.
Christians will consider their goals and possible obstacles to reaching those goals. Wise Christians will be asking themselves questions.
*How will I avoid the temptation to be selfish?
*How can I demonstrate to my wife that I love her?
*How can I teach my son to be a man?
*How can I show kindness to a co-worker?
*How can I stand firm for biblical principles when compromise and tolerance are more valued in society?
*How can I share the good news about Christ with an unbelieving friend?
*How can I forgive someone who has harmed me?
*How can I grow older with grace and avoid becoming a bitter old man?
*How can I become more thankful?
*How can I confront sin in someone who is hurting himself and others?
*How can I think, act, and speak in ways that glorify God?
Successful saints will think ahead. They will succeed when they are not caught off guard.
Football players depend on others. They need the team owners, the coaches, and other players. Even in training, a limited amount can be done alone. They need support, guidance, encouragement, and cooperation. Even the player named the Most Valuable Player never wins the game alone. He receives help both before and during the game.
Christians depend on others. They need God, pastors, teachers, and other disciples. They may be able to pray and study on their own, but they need support, guidance, encouragement, and cooperation. One Christian cannot make it through life successfully without help from God and his people.