The Training Of Champions

I Samuel 17:33 “And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.”

Having been mocked by his brethren for his willingness to respond to the challenge of the Philistine’s champion, Goliath of Gath; David is conducted into the presence of the King of Israel, the nation’s commander and chief. Once there, David reassures the king with these words; “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine” (vs. 32). Looking at things from a purely physical stand point, the king considers the qualifications of David in contrast to that of the Philistine giant; the sum total of the evidence leads the king to this conclusion, “Thou art not able.” While we are well aware of the fact that the end results will prove the king to be wrong; Saul’s reply to David carries with it a principle worthy of consideration! Saul said, “thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.” Please note the uses of the word “youth” with respect to David and to Goliath. With respect to David the word means boy from the age of infancy to adolescence. The word used with respect to Goliath is from the same root word used in David’s description but is used in the emphatic form for the state of childhood. The principle that Saul is setting forth is; “The Philistines are in the business of training champions!” From his childhood, Goliath was trained for this very moment; he is “a man of war.” That phrase means a man that engages in warfare and comes from a word meaning to feed on or to consume.

The principle set forth by Saul calls for serious consideration by the Christian community; “Are we in the business of training champions?” From the paraphernalia that we quickly begin to dump into the youthful lives of our children it becomes evident that we are attempting to train super heroes, sports stars, beauty queens, and students of wealth management. In spite of our godly claims; we are a people that place far more emphasis on the secular than the spiritual!

One of the first things that calls for our attention is the fact that champions are required to train champions! We must first consider the personal aspect of training champions. While it may not be a pleasant thought; “What is the summation of your personal life; secular or spiritual?” We talk the talk, but we fail to walk the walk. The man after God’s own heart said, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24). Most of us would never pray that prayer because we already know that we are living substandard spiritual lives and we don’t want to change! Champions aren’t being trained because there’s no one to train them!

The second thing that calls for our attention is the prospective aspect of training champions. In consideration of the Apostle Paul’s life, there are two words that come to my mind; intensity and involvement. Paul’s life was marked by intensity; “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14). At the moment of conversion Paul said, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6) and he never got over trying to accomplish the task. The second thing was involvement; every person that he came into contact with, he got involved in their life. It didn’t matter if it was a young disciple or a runaway slave; Paul quickly began to lavish upon them the riches of personal involvement! The greatest commodity that you have to give is yourself.

When the moment of conquest arises, the enemy will always have a champion trained for the occasion, will the same be true for the people of God; are we training champions?