Training to Die
One of my friends started a skate clothing company called Duration. It’s especially for old folks like me (I was born way back in 1970) who are still skateboarding after all these years. The people who are in it for the duration.
Are you in with God for the duration? It starts by training day in and day out. Dying day in and day out. Spiritual discipline day in and day out.
It doesn’t mean you have to be perfectly good at it all at once. Any skill has to be learned. It takes time, practice, and mental and physical development. The skill of dying to self is no exception.
I’m really into cycling. But I didn’t train enough before my first major event—a 250-mile ride over a weekend. By the time I finished, I’d wrecked my knee and injured my Achilles tendon. It took me a long time to rehabilitate. Once I could ride again, I started with short outings—ten miles, then twenty, then thirty, until I could ride one hundred miles a day. That’s when I really started having fun.
It was worth it. But it took a lot of patience and work.
When I started surfing, I started with small waves. I had to gain strength and confidence before I started trying the overhead stuff. Even now I don’t surf on some beaches because the waves are too dangerous for me. I know my limitations. I’m always pushing myself, but not too fast.
Your skill level in spiritual discipline will increase with time. Be patient with yourself and with God’s timing for your growth. Don’t set yourself up for failure; set yourself up for success.
But at the same time, never miss a workout!
Our sin nature has a strong survival instinct. It doesn’t want to die. The way we learn to effectively kill it is through days and weeks and years of small-but-consistent decisions and practices that build spiritual endurance and strength. That’s the road God wants to take you down.
By learning and practicing these death-steps every day, you’ll be training to take on the bigger challenges later on. When God calls you to really lay it on the line. When spiritual warfare is raging. When the stakes are high. When people are watching. And when God’s reputation is at stake.
When that “big” moment arrives, you want to be ready to die for Him. And that readiness comes through dying for Him every day in the “little” ways of regular spiritual discipline.
When the time of crisis comes, your training will kick in. As you take the plunge into an unknown situation where God has led you, you’ll let your training guide you. You’ll know how to listen for His voice instead of your own. Even when there’s chaos, you’ll stay true to Him. You’ll do it even when you’re being attacked or tempted by the enemy as never before.
You’ll be able to say, “This is what my training was for; this is why I’m here.” You’ll know your training has worked. And you’ll know your training has captured your soul.
How have you approached spiritual disciplines? What are some of your favorites? How have they helped you endure/grow?