Last night I went to the second session of the evaluation camp for the new Prairie Fire midget football team. As a Central Alberta team they will be drawing players all the way from Rocky to Stettler, and from Olds to Lacombe and maybe a few beyond. There were over 80 boys there last night (and one girl who held up very well against the guys) all being put through an hour long circuit of drills testing speed, strength, agility, and endurance.
It very quickly became apparent who had followed the coaches’ instructions at the previous camp in December, and had done some conditioning on their own. Those that had done the work in the weeks leading up to this camp were able to go from drill to drill and maintain the level of performance at each one. Their bodies were able to recover in the short time they had while moving between the stations. Those that had done little or no preparation dropped lower and lower in their performance levels till a number of them ended up having to sit on the sidelines unable to go on, while those who had worked especially hard pulled further and further ahead with each drill. (Trust me, this is not a criticism, just an observation from someone comfortable watching. I would have died out there.)
There are some very obvious life lessons that the kids learned last night, which is one of the reasons that I like football so much. But there are equally some significant spiritual lessons for all of us. If we haven’t put in the time and effort to learn how to differentiate the voice of God from all the other voices that clamour for our attention, our own included, if we haven’t learned how to rest in the strength that God’s spirit provides, if we haven’t practiced trusting in the Lord with all our hearts and not leaning on our own understanding, when the hard tests of life come we will be overwhelmed and exhausted long before we have come through them.
But here is something more: Every day is a test. No, not every day is a huge crisis. But every day there are people that need to encounter Jesus through the everyday lives and everyday intercessions us who are Christ followers. If we have put in the work of preparation we will recognize who God has intended for us to minister to and have the life of Jesus himself living through us to accomplish that ministry.
I have to admitt that I don’t enjoy excercise just for the sake of excercise. (As evidenced by my wife telling me to suck in my gut more often lately) But I have been told by some that working out actually becomes something they look forward to and really miss if they are have to skip a day. I’ve never experienced that, but I have found that my favorite time of the day is my spiritual work out. It wasn’t always that way, but as I have practiced and gotten better at it I genuinely hate to skip it – even when I’m on holidays. If you want some ideas on how to make your work out better, or maybe even how to start a spiritual work out, leave me a message and I’ll let you know some of what has been effective for me.