Training vs. Trying: Part 2

Aug 27

Training vs. Trying: Part 2

“Prepare him for persecution”. That’s what I heard God say to me as I held my newborn baby in my arms. “Prepare him for persecution”. Not exactly what a new mom likes to hear.

And just how, exactly, does one prepare someone for persecution? Well, I had read several biographies of martyrs and missionaries in the previous months, and there was one thing in common. What got them through, what made them strong, was what was in their minds. They knew Bible verses. They knew hymns. They knew passages from great books from great spiritual teachers. Those who were persecuted in groups encouraged each other by sharing what they knew. Those who were alone recited truths over and over in their heads, to centre themselves and strengthen themselves for whatever they were going through.

Armed with this, I began to teach my kids. By the time they were 6 and 7 they knew over 150 Bible verses – and many whole chapters of the Bible. They knew several great hymns – all the verses, and they knew important religious passages like the Apostle’s creed and the Lord’s Prayer. They had heard the Bible straight through several times, and were incredibly familiar with all the stories and a great deal of doctrine.

Then I got lazy, and we stopped.

Lately, God has been nudging me about this. I began asking myself how I would cope with persecution (and let’s face it, persecution has already started! Mild though it may be at the moment, it will only escalate). I realized I was totally out of shape spiritually and physically and would be unable to handle any amount of persecution.

Starting LineSo I’ve started training. I’m working on my physical endurance abilities by walking this Marathon. And I’m beginning to commit Bible verses and passages to memory. The kids and I are reading biographies and working through books like “The Purpose DrivenĀ® Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?“. We are learning to listen to God, and flexing our obedience muscles.

Faith is more than singing nice songs, hearing inspiring words, and hanging with a great crowd of people. God is showing me that it’s work. It takes training to be ready for the day. We must learn and apply, learn and apply. It’s not about waking up tomorrow and trying to pray for four hours and then read 25 chapters of the Bible. It’s not about trying to be perfect and never lose your temper again. Like with fitness, it’s about training, not trying.

How are you going to deal with anger? How are you going to deal with the hurt in your life? How are you going to face your persecutors? How are you going to treat your husband when he forgets your birthday, or your kids when they don’t clean up their rooms? How are you going to know what to do when trouble hits? Train. Train. Train.

I’m not great at this. I’m doing great with my physical exercise. My spirit is exceptionally flabby right now and doesn’t want to get off the couch. My heart is telling me that it’s time. Time to check in with my “Coach” and see what the training is for the day.

I was encouraged by this blog post from someone else who is also being challenged this way. Read about it here:

How about you? How are you set for persecution? What kind of training schedule have you got in place for your spiritual life? Share your thoughts and ideas below – let’s start a conversation!


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