Recently I had the opportunity to attend Bourne Youth’s camp, Winterbourne. I was lucky enough to help out with one of the electives, Bourne to Move. No it has nothing to do with Jason Bourne, but instead explored our passion for sport, fitness and physical activity. Maybe, like me, you feel a great desire deep within you, an ever present, pulsating fire that fills your body with energy and the urge to move. Maybe you love to get out of the house and be outside feeling the fresh air surge into your lungs. Maybe you love the drive of competitive sport, the chance to test yourself in competition. Maybe you love to feel your active body doing exactly what it is designed to do: move.
In our elective we joined together and played basketball, badmington, gripball, Ultimate Frisbee and then we experienced a session of physical and spiritual overlap. One of the great paradox’s of the bible is that power is made perfect in weakness and in weakness we can be strong (1 Corinthians 12:7-10). I thought that we would test this theory by putting it into practice and running a spiritual and physical fitness training session. So just like Jacob wrestling with God in Genesis 32 we encountered the physical and the spiritual.
In Paul’s letters to Timothy he compares these two domains:
“Train yourself in godliness, for, while physical training is of some value, godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:7b-8
Paul acknowledges the benefits of physical training but it fails to compare to the significance of spiritual training. He goes on to say:
“Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” – 1 Timothy 6:11b-12
And so we warmed up in running and in prayer. We ran, we prayed, we did push ups, we explored the bible, we pushed ourselves physically and challenged ourselves spiritually. We got a taste of the value of physical exercise and we began to explore the value of spiritual training. But life is not one training session, it is like an ultra-marathon, or a fight that goes the full fifteen rounds. Just like netball is not just one quarter it is four, it is also not just one match but a season. As with netball, training once will not allow your skills to improve or your fitness to progress. It is by persevering through the season that we attain the goal of the premiership at the end.
“Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14
This same principle applies to our spirituality. We must keep persevering and straining forward. We must keep training and keep looking forward to our goal. As with netball it is only with endurance that we can achieve our goal: the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.
“For to this end we toil and struggle, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, especially of those who believe.” – 1 Timothy 4:10
The theme of Winterbourne was, following Jesus. Jesus himself has layed out the path for us to follow. He came to earth, he toiled and struggled and showed us how to live. He conquered our sin and defeated death. When we choose to daily follow him we continue the race and we keep fighting the good fight and then on the last day we can stand and say:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” – 2 Timothy 4:7-8
Chaplain | Westbourne Park Uniting Church Netball Club