I’ve been marathon training since the beginning of summer and have been shocked at how consistent my running efforts were during the untamed summer days. Throw in a move down the street and a couple of vacations and it becomes even more unbelievable. All was well through week 11 when my knee decided that 33 miles in a week was more than it was willing to give. Fast forward through twelve days of hobbling and my desire to get back at it is overwhelming. My body needs to move and be stretched, to be strengthened and lengthened. I need to sweat. I need to train.
Let’s jump to some scripture….Titus 2:11 tells us that the “grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age…” Did you catch it? God’s grace is training us. Training is defined as “to teach a particular skill or type of behavior through practice and instruction over a period of time.” So, over time, by God’s unmerited grace, believers learn to turn away from ungodliness and turn to self-controlled and godly lives.
Two things stand out to me here. Firstly, we are trained by God’s grace. Think of his grace as his chosen kindness toward you and me. We can’t earn his grace – he has chosen in advance and in keeping with his character to bestow his grace upon us. Out of this grace, we are trained to turn from our worldly inclinations – ungodly and selfish – to becoming more and more like Jesus – perfectly godly and self-controlled. By his grace, this shift in us occurs. Any changes in us as believers begin by means of his grace. As Romans 11:36 says, “For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”
Secondly, we are trained over time. The training is taking place “in the present age” but will not be complete until “the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us” Aren’t you grateful that there is no expectation to become perfectly godly the instant you believe in Christ as your savior? What an impossibility that would be! Praise the Lord he walks with us day by day, hour by hour through this process of sanctification. There is no instant expectation but rather a bending towards his ways that grows deeper and stronger over time. Isn’t it just like the Lord to want the best for us? We learn best by doing and feeling, by having to get up and try again, by enduring the over and over process of training.
Back to my marathon training….This verse hit me so squarely between the eyes because THIS is why I’m longing to sweat. Why I’m longing to get back at it and feel my progress on the pavement. This is why…..
WE WERE MADE FOR TRAINING.
We were all made for training. To be trained by God’s grace. To become more like Jesus over time and until he returns. Training is hard-wired into who we are.
All of the other trainings we take on are simply practice for and a reminder of this ultimate training the Lord is delighting to take us through. The marathon training for me or the graduate school training for you or sight word training for the littles and every type of training in between. God’s grace initiates it and he is pleased by our efforts to go deeper, be consistent, and enjoy the progress.
Training has all of the sudden become a beautiful thing, something I long for because I see God’s good hand in it now. So, what training are you undertaking? It doesn’t matter how big or small, how far along you are in the process. If you aren’t currently training, this is why it feels appealing to begin – listen to that desire – it’s what we were made to do. Be encouraged today, friend, that your training is in a small way a reminder of this far deeper training the Lord is pleased to do in you. Now, go, get after it!
PS – I still can’t run.
Honestly, my walk is still a bit shaky.
But, I did get a good sweat from some outdoor yoga today – I’ll take every
single baby step along the way!
 Titus 2:14