“Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time
we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Galatians 6:9 NIV
I am taking a 10-week course called Citizen’s Academy through my local police department. The first night of the class, we got to meet the Chief and hear him talk a little bit about his philosophy and role in the community. One of the things he spoke about was how much time the department and staff spends training. It’s virtually ALL. THE. TIME. If they’re not patrolling, they’re training. His reason for all this training isn’t because of new methods or new staff or anything like that…
“We train and train and train and train because the way you train is the way you end up behaving when the ‘real thing’ happens.” – Police Chief Richard Rens
That really struck me. “… because the way you train is the way you end up behaving when the ‘real thing’ happens.” With patience, practice and perseverance, he helps his team build an intentional response that would kick in even if a life-threatening event occurred. He spoke a little bit more about that preparation and, the longer I thought about it, the more I realized I could benefit from using this strategy in my own personal [spiritual] life. So, that raises two questions:
What’s the ‘real thing’ I am training for?
How do you train for that?
What’s the real thing I’m training for? Jesus. Yep – I just pulled a ‘Sunday School answer.’ But seriously! I don’t want to wait until my first breath in Heaven to get to know God. I want the first thing I do when I meet him is to run and hard-core-tackle-hug him like a long loved best friend. I want my first meeting with him to feel like the middle of a sentence – like we started having the conversation in one place, I blink, and then finish the same conversation in a different setting. I’m training for spending an eternity with the Holy Trinity as my best friend.
How do you train for that? My plan is to get to know him better every day that I’m here. If I were talking about a human, I’d go on coffee dates, FB friend request them, text them inside joke type texts throughout each day, go see movies together, take my kids on play adventures with their kids, etc. Basically, do life together! With God, it’s the same idea, it’s just executed a bit differently because of the whole lack-of-a-human-body situation. But I can include him in every moment of my life. I can set aside time to have coffee with God. I can take time to hear about him and his thoughts (read the Bible). I can even make him a part of my social media time when I choose carefully what I post AND read. I can lead my kids to “play” with him whenever I give them opportunities to practice what it means to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and love our neighbor as ourselves. Maybe it’s as simple as this:
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9 NIV)
The most challenging thing about all this is how easily I lose my focus on the fact that THAT is what I’m training for and THAT is what should consume my day. There are so many other “urgent” things that pop up and steal my affection. And, actually, that’s where I’ve found church helps. Having a group of peers that are “training” for the same thing I am and who are willing to train with me. It’s critical. Seriously.
So, this is me. What about you? If you’re reading this, comment below with your answers to the two big questions today:
What’s the ‘real thing’ you are training for?
How do you train for that?
Dear Lord, thank you so much for putting Chief Rens in my path so that I could see this opportunity to be more focused in my time each day. Please bless my efforts to train for something bigger than me – YOU. Help me stay focused on knowing you and practicing for that first big hug in day one of Eternity. Amen.