Spiritual Strength Training

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. (Hebrews 12:11-12 NIV)

Ray and I are not year-round bicyclists. Here in New England, the season is short and the time off long. After a winter of no biking, even if we have kept up with other exercise, we don’t just hop on our bicycles and go thirty miles. Not even close. Typically, our first ride gets off to a slow start as we gather up our scattered gear, remember to pack the Band-Aids and cell phone, inflate the tires … you get the idea. When we’re finally on our bicycles, the first ride is a bit tough. Since we live in a valley, right off we have the job of riding up out of it. We do have a choice of hills, but a hill we must take, and my thigh muscles are never happy with me. My “sit upon” isn’t either. Bicycle strength training begins with small steps. It takes time to adjust again.

Ray is very methodical about the whole deal. We start with a five-mile ride and add two miles incrementally making sure we steer clear of the biggest hills the first few rides. By midsummer, though, we are back to our typical 16-18-mile rides, sailing through beautiful New Hampshire on back roads filled with farms, trees, fields, and ponds. I love our rides! Every previously sore muscle is forgotten in the joy of being out in the sunshine with my Ray marveling at God’s beautiful world.

Being disciplined as a Christian takes work. Little by little, we must stretch ourselves and seek God—early and late and in the middle of our days. Perhaps we start with a two-minute prayer time in the mornings. Maybe we read a verse a day on a perpetual calendar. Maybe we find an accountability partner to help us break a bad habit. It’s slow, this process of growing up in Christ. Countless hills and bumps in the road face us as He sanctifies us, makes us holy. Oh, but as we continue on day by day—on the days we feel like it and on the days we don’t—our spiritual “legs” grow stronger. Our ability to pray deepens. Our desire to study God’s Word increases. The effort is less and the rewards greater. We forget the earlier pain of training ourselves to sit with God when we realize the great joys that await us when we spend time with Him.

If taking time out to meet with God each day is new to you, dear one, start small. Then, keep at it on the easy days and on the hard days. The writer of Hebrews assures us that the training will be worth it all as we strengthen our “feeble arms and weak knees.” The more we listen to the Lord through His Word and prayer, the more we do what He says, the stronger in Christ we become. The harvest of righteousness and peace is a blessing that far outweighs every bump in the road along the path to a steady walk with God. Keeping our eyes “fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,” becomes a joyful lifestyle.

Heavenly Father, help us remember the reward of a greater closeness to You as we practice the disciplines of the Christian life. Teach us and grow us in our faith. Keep our eyes fixed on You, who love us so dearly. Oh, Lord, strengthen us that we might know You better and serve You more willingly in the days ahead. We want to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. It’s in His Name we pray, Amen.

You are loved,
Sharon

 

 

Sweet Selah Ministries

Vision To encourage a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth that stillness and knowing God matter most—
and will be reflected in more effective work and service

Mission 
To offer resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

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2 Responses to “Spiritual Strength Training”

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  1. Margaret Fowler says:

    So true! I ache on my first bike ride of the year. Finally I get up to 6 miles, - my limit! Congrats on your longer rides. And thanks for the thoughts on spiritual training, I have a long way to go.

  2. Sharon Gamble says:

    We all do. You are not alone!

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