Wise training respects the freedom of the Spirit.
God is the only one who transforms us. In his timing. We can open ourself to transformation through certain practices but we can’t engineer it. We can’t take credit for it. We put up the sails, and God is the wind.
Wise training starts right now.
We often make excuses. We think when we get a different season of life we will be able to be stronger spiritually. When we have more time we will spend it in prayer, or when we have more money we will give, when we settle down and have a family we will be more committed, etc. Our season of life, whatever it is, is no barrier to having Christ formed in us. Not in the least. Life counts, all of it.
Wise training acknowledges the rhythm.
One of the basic laws of life is rhythm. Night follows day, winter follows summer, we wake we sleep. In spiritual life there are times of consolation and times of desolation. When we forget the law of rhythm, we assume that whatever phase is current will last forever. In times of consolation I mistakenly think that I now have spiritual life mastered. In times of desolation, I assume I must have done something wrong. In truth both seasons are inevitable, and both can bring growth and training. One spiritual routine wont work for our entire life.
Wise training is in the small decisions.
Amy Carmichael once penned these thoughts…Sometimes when we read the words of those who have been more than conquerors, we feel almost despondent. I feel that I shall never be like that. But they won through step by step, by little bits of wills, little denials of self, little inward victories by faithfulness in very little things. They became what they are. No one sees these little hidden steps. They only see the accomplishment, but even so, those small steps were taken. There is no sudden triumph in spiritual maturity. That is the work of the moment.
Wise training promotes accountability.
We have to get someone we trust, someone who loves us. Someone who loves us well to ask us the hard questions. We have to answer truthfully. And we need someone to treat us with grace and love when we fall short.
See post on Accountability Question for samples
Wise training begins with a clear decision.
Jesus confronted people directly about the choice to become a follower. It is possible to live in such a way that when people see us, they will say to themselves “wow! I didn’t know that a life could look like that!” This is the “pearl of great value” of which Jesus spoke, for which any sensible person would sell everything. This is the race for which we were born. The marathon we are called and honored to run. But we will not drift into such a life. We must decide.