It's Olympics time again! I'm always fascinated by athletes as they push their bodies to the max, exerting all of the energy they have trying to win. I often wonder what goes into preparing for an event. As a kid, I was always told, "If at first you don't succeed try, try again." This always seemed like good advice until recently. There are lots of things I can try to do, but if I never train for them I'll never accomplish them.
For instance, there's some amazing athletes that run very well! I have a friend who is now running half marathons. That sounds exciting to me. I've often thought, "I'd like to try that." However, on the day of the race, if I just show up, without training for it, I can try all day long and all that will happen is that I will eventually reach exhaustion because my body isn't ready for an intense race. But, if I began slowly and trained, I would eventually be able run a 5k and then work my way up to 10k and eventually, I could be running with my friend in half marathons. For this to happen, I have to do the hard work at the beginning of becoming disciplined, focusing on the goal and striving toward it.
We do the same thing with our faith. We all know people that are quite strong in their faith in Christ and we think, "I'd like to be like that," and we tell ourselves to try harder! The fact of the matter is that trying harder isn't the problem that is keeping us from growing in our faith. We aren't growing because we aren't training. Many people are trying really hard and giving up everyday because they're tired and nothing is working the way they had hoped. They feel hopeless because they're basing their growth solely on their one effort. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV) says, " All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."
Did you see that? God has given us his Word and it will teach us (we can know how to know God by his Word), reprove us (humble us to reveal where we are wrong), correct us (show us the truth so we can honor him) and train us (help us grow in godliness). The Scripture equips us for every good work in this life. Perhaps we could not just see the Bible as a big, overwhelming, old archaic book, but rather see it as the very words of God, given for us to understand the Gospel and grow in godliness so that we can glorify him in what we say and do.