2 Timothy 3:14-17 (ESV)
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
I love to watch the Olympics. It’s a fun time to watch the athletes compete for the gold medal. These athletes have trained their entire lives for this one moment. They know the battles they will face. They will need to endure trial and suffering. They will have to give up certain luxuries that other people can take. But, yet they give up those things and focus on their one goal. They train for one purpose—to win their event. So, they keep training for years and years.
And then the event arrives. The pressure builds. In that moment, what do the Olympic athletes rely on? Their training, their coach, and their form. They have practiced and practiced. They have trained and built their strength so that when the pressure is on, they know exactly what to do and can do it without even thinking. Their training has become a part of them.
The Christian life is similar to the training of an Olympic athlete, except a Christian isn’t training for a one-time event like the 800m run, the 100m dash, figure skating, or speed skating. Being a Christian isn’t an event; it is a way of life. And the Christian path is filled with trials and temptations. The devil and the world, who influence you and your friends, will want you to do certain things, to “enjoy” sinful things, and to give up all your training for a good time.
In those moments, there is a lot of pressure. When temptation is standing right in front of you, the pressure is on. You can feel it. In moments of temptation, what can you do?
Many times, our strength isn’t as great as the Olympic athlete, and we fall to temptation. In those moments of weakness, what can you do?
Like an Olympic athlete, you have something to rely on in moments of temptation and weakness. You have God’s Word. You already know God’s Word and can learn to know it better. Read again Paul’s words to young Timothy. Paul encourages Timothy to continue in God’s Word! Paul encourages Timothy to not give up his “training” but to continue in reading, studying, and applying God’s Word. Why? God’s Word gives you the power to tell the devil and all the temptations, “No.” God’s Word points you to Jesus and reminds you he’s won the contest for you. God’s Word tells you about forgiveness from all your guilt—yes even your secret guilt—because of what Jesus did.
When temptation’s pressure is on, remember your training. Run to God’s Word.
Dear Lord, help us constantly train in God’s Word, so that by Your grace we may fight the temptation that are all around us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.