Trying versus Training

We’re beginning a new series of sermons for our worship time that will be focused on the Spiritual Disciplines. These are ancient practices which go all the way back to the Scripture that God’s people have practiced in order to prepare for the Holy Spirit to work in their lives to help them to grow spiritually mature. It’s going to be a challenging series for me I know, because I will have to reevaluate how well I have “prepared the soil” of my own spirit through these spiritual exercises. When things get busy, the temptation is to let these practices slide. When things get stressful, it’s hard to focus on those practices where we don’t necessarily see an immediate benefit, but which are crucial in the long term for our growth. It’s so much easier to turn to something that distracts us from a stressful or painful situation—TV, food, browsing the internet.

I want to share a very short video today that I think helps explain this. I mentioned it during our worship time yesterday. This is a conversation between John Ortberg and Dallas Willard. These are two authors I have mentioned already. In his book, The Life You’ve Always Wanted, Ortberg has really tried to make more easily accessible some of Willard’s teaching on Spiritual Disciplines. In this video Willard talks about the difference between trying and training. He makes the profound observation that we overestimate what we can accomplish by trying harder, but we underestimate what we can achieve through training. I would encourage you to watch it, if you can. Click here for the link to the video.

As followers of Christ, we desire a closer relationship with him and we want our lives to conform more and more to the image of his life. Training ourselves through the use of Spiritual Disciplines is an aspect of this. The world has never been more in need of mature Christians who are in step with the Spirit than right now.

If you haven’t read the letter from the Church Board that was sent out in the E-Bulletin last Thursday, I would encourage you to. Also continue to pay attention to updates as the situation changes and as we make preparations for the time when we will be meeting together again in person. Continue to pray for one another and continue to pray for North Danvers Mennonite Church. Any time of challenge is also a time of opportunity. Let’s be careful to seize this time and to redeem it for God’s purposes.

Love you all.

God bless, Brian

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