Athlete, Practice Hard, Practice Well
1 Timothy 4:15 (ESV)
Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.
Practice. Part of me loves it. Part of me doesn’t.
I love practices that are fun. For me, that comes toward the end of the season when most of the hard work is done, and all that’s left is tuning up for nationals.
One practice, I enjoyed a game of disc golf with my track teammates and coaches. That’s because we basically had an off day before an important meet the following day.
That practice was an enjoyable one because it was very light, fun, with no pressure to perform.
But to get to that point, our team had to persevere through an entire season of hard work. That’s when practice isn’t always fun, especially when workouts are physically and mentally taxing.
After several weeks, it becomes routine. Though I dread those longer, harder workouts, I know they will pay off.
In 1 Timothy 4, Paul mentors Timothy, a young church leader, to “train for godliness” (vs. 7-8).
What does that mean? Look at verses 4-6:
“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.”
Everything created by God — including your sport – is good. If you play your sport as an act of worship, with thankfulness, that is pleasing to God!
By putting “these things” (the Word of God and prayer) before your teammates and coaches, you will serve Christ well.
Paul repeats the phrase, “these things,” in verses 11 and 15:
“Command and teach these things.”
“Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.”
Some days can be hard and discouraging, but seeing progress is a big motivator.
As Timothy was being coached to train himself in godliness and use his gifts for God’s kingdom, you and I have a similar mission as followers of Christ who are gifted in athletics.
Use your athletic gift to develop yourself. More importantly, invest in yourself spiritually. Worship God with your life for the world to see.