May 11, 2011
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)
The temperature was pushing 100° Fahrenheit on that hot summer evening. Golden sunshine tinted the trees and shadows lengthened, as the lone runner caught my eye. He looked like one of the high school boys on my sons' wrestling team. But what was he doing running now?
With wrestling season still months away, his dedication to training impressed me. Training in-season is common; training off-season, rare. And yet the off-season warriors consistently push themselves to their personal best, out-performing those who begin training in-season.
Readiness characterizes these highly trained athletes. They are ready at a moment's notice to face the next opponent. Seldom surprised, they move with grace and assurance. Their discipline pays off when needed most.
I've watched this same principle lived out in the lives of godly men and women I've known. They apply themselves to spiritual training, are committed to learning God's Word, and pursue a life of faith. Day in and day out, they discipline their minds and hearts to stay in alignment with the truth. They strengthen their devotion to Christ in spite of circumstances. They take false thoughts captive.
Then, when they least expect it, their training is called into action.
There's usually no warning. It's a phone call. A medical test. An email. In an instant, their "opponent" is raging. Fear, grief and despair threaten. But they aren't overwhelmed.
Shaken? Maybe. But not devastated.
These past few years I've faced events that have shaken me. From losing our savings due to the economy to having kids make choices far from how they were raised, life has rocked me a few times. I've faced things I never thought I would face, and no one gave me a map to navigate the details of these circumstances.
In the darkness of these times, I've held on to what I know to be true in the light. When my flesh wanted to panic and run screaming, God's truth told me He will provide. When I wanted to despair that I'd lost my child forever, God's wisdom reminded me that everyone sins. Without training, I'd have collapsed on the floor in a confused puddle of fear.
Being a woman of faith is easy when life is smooth. It's easy to love others, be a good steward and make wise decisions when everything is going great. It's when there's no warning and a storm hits that we need to be well-trained.
No one can do this for us. We are the only ones who can study God's Word. We are the only ones who can push through a dry season and spend time in prayer. We do this in-season (when circumstances are rough) and off-season (when circumstances are smooth), so that when the battles of life strike, we are ready.
The good news is you can start your training today. In fact, you already have by reading this devotion. Take time to read the scriptures below and answer the questions. Pray and ask God what He wants you to learn. Ponder the truths you find and let them burrow in to your heart. Each time you do this, you'll be stronger.
And when you face a battle, this discipline and training will pay off in peace, confidence and joy in spite of your circumstances.
Dear Lord, I praise You as the source of all truth. Help me to have the discipline to read and study the Bible on my own, so that I'm ready when faced with trouble. I ask for more of Your wisdom and discernment to build my life on a solid foundation. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
P31 Woman magazine General Editor, Glynnis Whitwer
Visit Glynnis' blog for a discussion of how to train in and off season.
When Your Child Is Hurting by Glynnis Whitwer
It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know by Rachel Olsen
Identify one truth you've learned from the Bible that has helped you stay strong in the tough times. Visit Glynnis' blog and post your answer or just your thoughts on today's devotion. She's doing a drawing and giving away a copy of the One Year Chronological Bible to one person who comments.
What kind of mindset do we need to be able to train off-season?
How does knowing the Word of God equip us for "every good work," as our key verse mentions?
John 8:31-32, "To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, 'If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'" (NIV)
1 Timothy 4:7, "Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourselves to be godly." (NIV)
© 2011 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105