I’ve been thinking about developing new habits lately. Good habits, the kind that make you healthy, wealthy, and wise! This year the resolutions in our home have to do with getting fit – spiritually and physically – and I know accomplishing these goals is just a matter of changing my habits.
In my Disciplines of Life class I use an analogy from John Ortberg about the difference between TRAINING and TRYING. Ortberg says running a marathon is a great goal, but if you only TRY to run it, perhaps by getting the right outfit and faking some warm-ups at the starting line, you will never suceed. Instead, you must TRAIN for that marathon. The TRAINING is inevitably hard and time-consuming, but as you progress in your abilities you will eventually reach your goal. Many of us approach our spiritual growth in the same unwise manner. We decide to be different and so we start a regimen of daily prayer for two hours and a rigorus Bible study. Inevitably we will fail when we simply TRY but do not TRAIN.
Training means working up to a goal. You start with small steps and persevere. Trying usually means you have good intentions but no follow through.
A couple of years ago we took Jesse to a special football camp at Truman. He loved it and I love looking at the pictures of his smallness up against those big college players. They were so gentle and sweet with the boys.
Practicing physical or spiritual disciplines may seem daunting – kind of like a 5 year-old up against a collegiate athlete – but don’t forget where your strength comes from. There are major promises involved and much grace.
If we train faithfully, someday we will taste the sweetness of victory. It will probably feel something like this: