Training v/s Trying

by Cliff Ravenscraft on July 13, 2005

in Blog

If you've been following the discussion on the Celebrity Deathmatch Post, you know that I've picked the “Choose The Life” book back up. In fact, I'm really excited about studying this book as a ministry and especially the topic of “Training v/s Trying” when it comes to the spiritual disciplines associated with Following Christ.
One discipline that I had decided to tackle was the discipline of waking “early in the morning” and spending time in a solitary place. My initial goal, set about three months ago, was to get up at 6am every morning. I “tried” to do this for weeks and failed miserably for the most part at first, only able to wake as early as 7am two days a week on average. But I didn't give up! I continued ask others for support in prayer and accountability and I pressed on. Eventually, I was getting up at 6:30 about four days a week. This was still not where I wanted to be, I continued to press on and eventually met my goal on a consistent basis after about two months.
Spending solitary time alone each morning with God has not only helped me to have a better focus on my day but has given me great clarity and direction in my personal life, my career, and in my ministry efforts. In fact, having this time has actually become so enjoyable that I'm often finding myself waking at 4:30am on a regular basis to get even a greater start on my day.
Where am I going with all this? Am I just patting myself on the back? Honestly, I can't say that I'm not excited about where I've come in this area. But the reason I share it is because of something I read in the “Choose The Life” book recently. Many times we fail at spiritual disciplines such as prayer, studying God's Word, fasting, stewardship, etc. because we simply “try” to do better in these areas of our lives. The fact is that “trying” is not enough. We must set a goal and then “train” for it.
Several years ago, my wife did the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon. If she would have simply “tried” to do the 26.2 mile trek when the time came, she would have failed miserably. She may have made it about five or even six miles, who knows, maybe even ten or so miles before she could simply go no more. However, that's not what happened. I'm very proud to report that my wife made it the WHOLE TWENTY SIX POINT TWO MILES that day! She walked the WHOLE THING!
How did she do it? SHE TRAINED! She set a goal (26.2 miles) and she began to train for that goal on a daily basis. She started out with a mile. In a few weeks she was going five miles. She hurt at first. She became discouraged at several points, but she didn't give up. She kept pushing herself, one step further, knowing that by doing so, she could accomplish her goal. And She Did!
Bill Hull write in the “Choose The Life” book that we need to quit trying to be disciples and begin to get serious about training to be disciples.
What spiritual discipline are you training in?
FYI- My next spiritual discipline that I am training in right now is being a better steward of my physical body. I'm seeking wisdom, prayer, and accountabilty in the area of physical activity, eating healthier, and finding a biblical method to handle my stress to avoid eating as a coping method. I'd value your prayers in this area of my life.
In Christ,

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