By Andy Bratton, Senior Minister
A week or so ago, my wife introduced me to this video on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFZFjoX2cGg. It takes over 20 minutes to watch it, so plan accordingly, but it is FUNNY! Anyway, as I am watching this video, I am amazed at how squirrels are creatures of habit. As I write this I have a squirrel outside my window eating all of the bird feed my wife put out for the, well, birds. And he/she cleaned it right out. Anyway, it is remarkable how these squirrels will train themselves to overcome obstacles and remember where to go in order to find the food they want.
As human beings, we are creatures of habit as well aren’t we? We can train our bodies and minds to a set schedule, a thorough workout, to the point that we NEED that schedule, that meal, that run, and that sleep. Think about it. Regardless of when we wake up in the morning and eat/don’t eat breakfast, noon is when we stop to eat lunch. And when we don’t, we have to really work at it to convince ourselves that we really aren’t hungry yet.
The Bible has a lot to say about training. In Proverbs, it says, “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he won’t easily part from it.” In other words, if we instill in our kids a proper path, work ethic, morals, values, education, most importantly Jesus, the chances of our children staying on that path is better than if we don’t train them in those things. At a conference I attended a few months ago, Andy Stanley and his wife said that in their home they only had a couple of rules. The first was that you never lie. The second was that you honored mom. When one of his sons was in his late teens Andy had to call him out for dishonoring Sandra (Andy’s wife). It wasn’t just an important rule when they were young, it was important even as they grew up.
Paul said this about training in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”
Let’s train ourselves to run after the prize God put before us, which is eternal life. Let’s train our bodies and minds to “Love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength,” and “to love our neighbor as ourselves.” I think with that kind of training, people that are showing hate right now would show love. I think with that kind of training, people would respect one another more than we are observing right now. I think with that kind of training, people would experience the power of the Holy Spirit right now as opposed to the power of the sinful heart.
Our life can feel like the obstacle course the guy in the video set up for the squirrels. However, when we train ourselves in godliness, rely on the Holy Spirit, and surrender our life to Jesus, we, too, will get through the obstacle course of life. Love you guys.