Training Day

For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.

James 1:3 (NLT)

I have an announcement to make. I have decided that I am going to compete in the 100-meter race at the next Olympics on behalf of the United States of America! Isn’t that awesome?! In fact, I’m not just gonna run the race. I’m gonna win. I know it. How? Because I’ve been watching the Olympics for over 40 years, and I feel it in my heart and mind that I can run faster than everyone else who has ever run that particular race. I don’t even need to train. I’m fit enough to claim the gold!

OK, if you didn’t pick up the sarcasm in that first paragraph, then let me be honest. I’m not going to actually do any of those things. I know, bummer.

The reality is that people who compete in the Olympics train their entire lives for just a moment in time. In fact, 100 meter sprinters have a very strict training regimen which they follow for years in order to be competitive. Not only to they practice their own race, they spend time in the weight room, they analyze video of their strides, they eat a scientifically selected diet. For many of them, they practice over eight hours per day, in addition to their other responsibilities like their day-job, family, etc. In order to succeed, athletes must put the work in before they even run the race. Through sweat, pain, tears, and injuries, they keep at it.

Our faith is no different. If we want it to be solid, sustainable, and eternal, we’ve got to train in it. And, guess what? Training in our faith requires some sweat, pain, tears, and injuries. Why? Because only when we exert ourselves. Only when we allow God to push us, do we truly begin to develop a stronger faith in Jesus. As we face adversity, heartache, and uncertainty, we have to make a conscious choice over and over whether we are going to trust God through it or quit. And, every time we make the choice to stick with God, our faith grows a little.

Jesus’s half-brother James put it like this in our verse today, “For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” In other words, Jesus is training us for eternity. He is training us to trust Him. He is training us to know Him. He is training us to love Him, no matter what life throws at us.

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