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Spiritual Training

God placing you in an uncomfortable position could be preparing you to live a comfortable life. On Christmas Day, I watched my favorite NFL player Antonio Brown score the game winning touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens despite three players trying to tackle him. The three players combined weighed 629 pounds while Antonio Brown or "AB" only weighs 181 pounds. Some wondered how he managed to score despite this amount of weight pressing against him. Initially I thought the same, but I began to think about how hard I saw him work during training camp and the frequency of his workouts on Snapchat. I realized that his off-season and in-season training regimen prepared him for this moment. We have to develop our spirituality the same way. Life tends to give us a lot to handle and attacks us from different angles, but being strong in our faith and spirituality allows us to push through to reach the finish line.

A significant part of trusting God's Plan for our life is to trust the process. This is one of the reasons why we prefer our plan over God's because we want to live a life without ever going through the training process. Some people have a desire to lose weight until they realize the necessary training and discipline that's involved. Although training is a difficult part of God's plan, it's the most significant part of God's plan. We must realize that our strength is a result of constant training. Similar to an athlete doing weight training to build muscle and strength, the same must be done to develop our spiritual strength. 1 Timothy 4:8 in the Good News Bible states the following, “Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is valuable in every way, because it promises life both for the present and for the future.” The development of our spiritual strength can help us handle current situations along with preparing us for future blessings. God will not give you a blessing if you're not ready to receive and take care of it. Spiritual training will involve a series of tests to insure that you're ready to be elevated. When we're faced with these different tests, we have to remember what we discovered during spiritual training. During the test of our strength, remember that you can do all through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13). When our patience is tested, remember that the lord will make it happen when the time is right (Isaiah 60:22) When things aren't going how you planned, remember that everything can work together for your good if you love the Lord (Romans 8:28) Despite who our new president is, remember that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8)

This mindset and level of spirituality is developed through dedicated and disciplined training. The first part of the 1 Timothy 4:6 in the Message translation states “Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please!" We have to exercise our faith and develop our spirituality on a daily basis, not just on Sunday. If we don't exercise daily in God, we can become spiritually flabby or unfit. Spiritual flabbiness can ultimately lead to fatigue which has the potential to lead to failure. If Antonio Brown wasn't dedicated to his training regimen or displayed physical flabbiness, I don't think he scores the game winning touchdown and the Pittsburgh Steelers potentially miss the playoffs. Don't miss your blessing because of being spiritually unfit or shying away from spiritual training. Allow God to grow your faith so that you can be prepared for every test you face. When you're spiritually strong or spiritually stable, you realize that you can handle everything that comes your way. If we can endure the weight pressed against us like AB did against the Baltimore Ravens, we can reach the finish line and claim our victory!

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