I am reading The Practice of Godliness by Jerry Bridges, which is proving to be an instrument that God is using to refine me and challenge me. I have been uniquely impacted by the concept of training in godliness. Coming from a rich athletic background, I have always been drawn to illustrations of physical training and how the same concepts apply to spiritual growth and training.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.I want to run with endurance the race set before me, but I must first lay aside those things hold me back. This is so hard sometimes, letting go. Jerry Bridges states that one of the principles of training is the cost of commitment. He writes:
There is a price to godliness, and godliness is never on sale. It never comes cheaply or easily. The verb "train," which Paul deliberately chose, implies persevering, painstaking, diligent effort. He was well aware of the total commitment those young athletes made to win a crown that would not last. And as he thought of the crown that would last-the godliness that has value for all things, both in the present life and the life to some-he urged Timothy, and he urges us today, to make the kind of commitment necessary to train ourselves to be godly.
God is challenging me that I must make the choice, the commitment, to give up those things in my life that prevent me from running with endurance. I would take this a step further, to use the word surrender. With surrender there is a complete release or letting go. When we hold things palms up, we can always take them back. If you let go of something with palms down, once it is released, you can not hold on to it. This type of complete surrender is what is required of us. Are your palms facing up or down? Is there anything God is calling you to let go of, so that you may run with endurance the race He has set before you?