“We can do this the easy way or the hard way.” I’ve said this more times than I can count to my children. Usually, it’s in a disciplinarian situation as I raise my eyebrows and use my I’m not playing anymore tone. If they decide to take the hard route, I’m in for a long round of setting consequences and standing guard as the enforcer. Sometimes, they smile at me with that mischievous twinkle in their eyes and keep doing what they were doing until they realize mom is serious.
Everyone wants children that mind their parents, but what would happen if a child always chose the easy way? Would they be able to navigate through life without their parents telling them what to do having never experienced consequences? The hard way is an effective learning tool. My kids still mess up and get into trouble, but it is considerably less now. Thanks to a lot of hard training, they’re learning to weigh the options and outcomes.
No train, no gain.
Our brains even know it. While we sleep our minds switch into practice mode. If there is a problem I’m working on or a worry I’m stressing over, I’ll dream about it. At night, my brain trains on how to handle tough situations. It’s like an emotional workout or conditioning so that when the problem arises, I’m mentally prepared to handle the conflict.
Training takes time.
Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. He didn’t just miraculously become the greatest basketball player of all time. It took training. Often we see the end product and want it right away. We see successful people and think, I want that, but do we really know what it took to get there?
Training takes sacrifice.
My husband is an amazing entrepreneur. He’s been reading financial magazines and business books since he was in high school. He’s had numerous friends and past employees who see what he’s accomplished and thought, I can do that, so they start their own company expecting immediate results. What they didn’t see was the beginning where he ran the company out of our living room. We didn’t own a couch for the first three years of our marriage. Instead, we had cubicles. I used to come home from work and have to wait for their meetings to end so I could make dinner on our boardroom/kitchen table.
We can be like this with God. We want the easy way: the heaven card, a tight relationship with Jesus, answered prayers. But, we don’t get on our knees every day, crack open our Bibles, or wake up on a Sunday morning. How often do we take the easy spiritual way, when we should be training the hard way knowing it will become easy the more we practice? God challenges his prophet Jeremiah in verses 12:5
“If you have raced with men on foot
and they have worn you out,
how can you compete with horses?
If you stumble in safe country,
how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?”
How many of us are worn out by the little battles? (Don’t worry my hand is raised here too.) We need to ask ourselves, how can we ready ourselves for when the big spiritual battles arise? How can we be training for spiritual challenges?
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