Dr. Stanley Spence, Pastor First Baptist Church, Lincolnton, N.C.
How many times have we used the phrase, “I’ll try”? Dr. Sophia Steibel of Gardner-Webb University reminded us in a recent visit we should train for our outcomes rather than try for them.
It is a simple but profound concept with which we are losing touch. We act as though whatever we want should come easy to us or it wasn’t meant to be. If sports don’t come naturally then it was someone else’s gift, not ours. If we can’t dance, then we were never meant to be any good at it.
Life is so much more than just being naturally good at something. After years of marriage, I still have much to learn. Training is a better way to approach challenging outcomes. The training I am referring to is to achieve success by continuous effort day in and day out. Yes, I train at marriage as do all the really successful couples I know. All good musicians train on their instruments. All great athletes train at their sports.
All Christians wanting to please God train for this. They study their Bible, pray, serve God and serve others as He leads them. They don’t just try. Trying leaves us with an excuse; we were never called to this or that in the first place. Training recognizes the effort to reach the outcome which may suffer setbacks, but there is always the next time or the next day. We are citizens of an eternal kingdom and should, therefore, train as a citizen of heaven.
People born in this country may not understand this--but immigrant citizens understand the importance of training for citizenship in a new country. Studying the history, understanding the laws, knowing key documents and stories of the nation’s history and living into them is what training looks like. Readying oneself for the outcome of living in their new country is about training to understand their destination.
We Christians, too, should train ourselves to know what our citizenship will be like on the other side. It isn’t about hearing a sermon preached one time but knowing the Master of Heaven and desiring what He desires. It is also about being among His people the way He wants us to be among one another. Train for the life to come rather than just knowing about it. I believe it is the difference between knowing about God and being known by Him.
We are saved by Grace to be sure, however, it would be nice to experience Heaven as home, rather than a strange place you are learning of for the first time in shock and difficulty. Heaven should feel like home rather than a foreign land where you don’t speak the language.
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