Following Jesus Is Like Training

training indiv

Training always begins with individual growth.

Might sound selfish, but that’s how it has to be. Training, initially, is an individual deal.

Only strong, skilled individuals can comprise a strong, skilled team. So whether you’re training for an individual activity or something intrinsically team-oriented, you’re have to focus first on what you can do to get better.

Training Isn’t Selfish

Training means getting better, faster, or stronger. It’s learning, reading, or listening. It’s growing in your faith, following Jesus a bit more closely. Whatever the goal or activity, training is the focused set of activities designed to get you more prepared to do it well.

Nothing inherently selfish about any of that. Growing, learning, getting closer to Jesus—all good things.

The real issue is the purpose of the training.

You might train for self-improvement. A better body because you want a better body. Run a marathon because you want to run a marathon. Get a seminary degree because you want to know more theology. Self-improvement trainers focus on themselves, their desires, their improvement.

You might train as a way to get ahead of others. You want to be faster than the other guy, have more money or a bigger house. You want a bigger audience or more followers. Getting ahead is about comparing.

Folks who do get-ahead training believe life is a zero sum affair. Get-ahead trainers focus on the scoreboard and on winning. Which, of course, means they must make sure someone loses.

That’s what’s sad about get-ahead trainers. They need losers.

You might train as way to give to others. This sort of training asks, “How can I develop my gifts so I have more to give?” As characters in a story bigger than themselves, stewardship trainers know they’re responsible for the best use of their physical, financial, and spiritual gifts.

Stewardship training is simply the ongoing process of acquiring the knowledge and skills of a responsible steward. Stewardship trainers are better prepared to serve. They’re better prepared for tough questions and tough situations.

Stewardship trainers are ultimately better prepared to be–and to help–disciples.

Training, self-improvement, whatever you call it—those are good things. It’s good to grow and learn, get healthier, simplify, read your bible more, all those New Year sorts of things.

Why you’re training matters, too. Likely more than the training itself.

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Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
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