“If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.” — Ecclesiastes 10:10
For the first time in the last eight years during my career as an international rugby player, my rugby “axe” may be a little dull. Having been unable to practice or compete this year due to COVID-19, I’m not as strong or fit as I would usually keep myself. It’s uncharted territory for me. Though I may not be focusing on strength and conditioning as much as I would be if I were in the middle of a season, I am taking every opportunity I can to increase my agility and skills on the rugby field by focusing on my footwork.
Off the rugby field, I’m focusing on sharpening my leadership skills and working on building my relationship skills, which impacts my career and team directly. In the realm of my spiritual fitness, I’m focusing on the skill of hearing God and listening to His lead. I try to ask God who I can be praying for and how I can serve others. I want to be as in tune with God as I can because if He is in the forefront of my mind, my axe will be sharper in every area of my life. As God continues to teach me the skills I need for my life, I know it will make my axe sharper so I will be prepared for any and every season.
In 1 Timothy 4:8, the Apostle Pauls tells us, “For physical training is of some value, but Godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
For me, the purpose of Godliness has been on the forefront of my mind, much more than bodily discipline. This has caused me to place much more trust in God, laying down control over my life. There was a time when, if I didn’t get all my workouts and stretches in during the day, I would feel like I had let myself down. I may have had a great day relationship-wise or in my prayer life, but my bodily discipline would weigh me down. But I know now that if I continue to train my spirit a little more instead of focusing most of my efforts on my body, God will prepare me for whatever may come.
My devotion to God has never been better than it is today. That being said, it takes a lot of intentional effort to stay disciplined in Godliness. When I wake up and spend time with God first, it sets the tone for the rest of my day. And then, when I’m tired and ready to be done with the day, I first spend time reading God’s Word or praying, giving God my last thoughts and words before I go to sleep at night. Taking these steps has helped me hear His voice throughout the day and provided me with the courage to step out in faith as He leads me in my career.
When rugby starts back up, whenever that may be, I know there will be a switch as to the amount of focus I have to put into my bodily fitness, but I know that even within that realm, I will continue to stay spiritually vigilant. I can go so much further with God than I can without Him.
— Nate Augspurger, USA Rugby and San Diego Legion player
Nate Augspurger is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing articles and opinions. Check out Nate’s Increase profile here.
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