- Dave Egner
Casey Seymour, a successful soccer player and coach, notes that everyone on his team hates the 10-by-100 drill that ends practice. Before the men can leave the field, they must run 100 yards 10 times at full speed with minimal rest. If they don’t beat a prescribed time, they have to do it again.
The players hate it—until the day of the game. Then they find that they can play at full capacity for the entire match. Their effort has been rewarded with a championship!
The apostle Paul used metaphors of training and competition in his letters. While he was a missionary to the Gentiles, he submitted to the instructions and drills of God amid great suffering and hardship. Twice in Philippians 4, he said, “I have learned” (vv.11-12). For him, and for each of us, following Jesus is a lifelong learning process. We are not spiritually mature the day we are saved, any more than a schoolboy athlete is ready for professional soccer. We grow in faith as we allow God through His Word and the Holy Spirit to empower us to serve Him.
Through hardship, Paul learned to serve God well—and so can we. It’s not pleasant, but it is rewarding! The more teachable we are, the more mature we will become. As members of Christ’s team, let’s be coachable.
Oh, it’s hard to learn the lesson,
As we pass beneath the rod,
That the sunshine and the shadow
Serve alike the will of God.
God’s work in us isn’t over when we receive Christ— it has just begun.