Training for the Fight

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A few weeks ago, I spent a day doing strength-and-conditioning training with a group of firefighters and first responders. I began the training by having everyone complete an assessment designed to measure their current physical strengths and weaknesses. On the wall behind me in the training room was a quote that said:

 “If you knew you would be in a fight tomorrow for your life, how would you train today?” 

I have worked with athletes, firefighters, police, and military for many years with the goal of preparing them for competition, work, and deployment. For many years, I believed that physical training was all they needed to be prepared to win or be successful. I was confident that hard work in the gym would always improve mental toughness (whatever that is) and ensure success. I thought that if we just worked hard and got our minds and bodies ready for the fight, we would be able to take on the world and win.

Today, I know that’s all true to a point, but it’s not the whole picture. Hebrews 4:12 says: “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” God is telling us something about the complete make-up of the human being. We are not just physical beings with a body and brain. There’s more to us than meets the eye. We are spirit (our connection with Him), soul (mind), and body (joints and marrow).

The Bible is also clear that the “fight for our life” is not purely physical or even mental: “We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12 NLT). This is why Paul told his spiritual son, Timothy,

. . . 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 . . . That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:7-10 NIV)

Everywhere we look these days, people are concerned about our physical health.  How many programs do we have available to us for mental health and restoration? We, as humans, want to be healthy. And we should. We should work hard in the gym. We should work hard to improve our minds. But Jesus tells us we will never be completely ready for the true fight for our lives unless we bring Him into our hearts and let Him be part of our complete being—mind, body, and spirit. This is the only way we will ever heal our fractured hearts and become fully prepared to meet the battle ahead of us.

Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Are you mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically prepared to face trouble? What are you looking to for security, hope, and peace? In your wealth? In your marriage? In your kids? Your job? Your physical health? If so, please hear me—these things are gifts from your Father in heaven, given to you out of His amazing, immeasurable love. They are His, given to you to take care of, take responsibility for, and enjoy. But they will ultimately fail you unless you have Jesus. He is the only way to find real peace.

“If you knew you would be in a fight for your life tomorrow, how would you train today?” Will you let Jesus train you? Will you choose to put your heart, hope, security, and future in His hands and His victory? He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. When we put Him first, our food tastes better, our work is more fulfilling, our relationships stronger, and our troubles less troubling. Put Him first and everything else second, and you will overcome. You will achieve. You will make a difference. And you will face the battles ahead in peace, confident that He has already overcome the world. That is His hope for you.

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