Saturday, May 5, 2012

This is what you have trained for.

Two weeks ago I had an opportunity to hear pastor Wayne Cordeiro speak on sifting from Luke 22. He told a story of being on a rowing team and entering a 40 mile race.

He said everyone had a great start. He was feeling strong and performing well. At mile 10, he was still feeling good as were all the competitors. By mile 20 there was starting to prove to be a gap in those that were really able to win the race and those that were not. At mile 30 he was exhausted, spent and ready to quit.  But he said he came to realize that this was the very moment he had been training for. All the workouts, all the time and energy put into being the strongest and best rower was for this exact minute. It was here he coached himself to not give up. "This is what you have trained for!" he told himself. And he reached down to find more strength, fight through the fatigue and finish the race.

The moral of the story was that the reason you ever do any training is for the time when we are squeezed. The things we have deposited in our lives will be what comes out in those intense times in life.

I ran a half marathon last weekend, and I thought of that line so many times. A half marathon is thirteen miles and my training had made about eight or nine miles not too crazy difficult. On race day mile ten was pushing me.  My feet were tired and I was feeling kinda queasy. "This is what you have trained for!"  Mile eleven came and my toes were really, really sore, and I had a rock in each shoe. "This is what you have trained for!" Mile twelve was a bitter sweet mark, almost done, but somehow it seemed like it was the longest mile ever. I was reaching for every ounce of energy possible. "This is what you have trained for!" At the last half of the mile were two friends screaming my name cheering me on. What an encouragement! "This is what you have trained for!" I few steps later, one more friend yelling and cheering for me! "This is what you have trained for!" And finally the finish line. What a moment! This is what I had trained for!

A sweet friend was there to greet me and celebrate. Yes, celebrate the accomplishment, but celebrating that I didn't give up. Giving up is always the easy way out. I have so many thoughts about it all. So many spiritual parallels. I see a sifting in areas of my life and I want all the junk brought out. All the pride, all the selfishness, all the obnoxiousness. All those things that I have deposited and deposited over and over again have been coming up as I have felt squeezed in a few ways. The whole purpose of a filtering sieve is to bring to the surface all the junk and get rid of it. And I want it all up. All up and out. Then, when it's done and over with, all I want left in me is Jesus.

A few verses come to mind:
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 1 Corinthians 9:24 
I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God who loves me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

That is what I want my life to show I have trained for. Less of me, more of him.

These are some of pastor Cordeiro's impactful thoughts:
     ~Sifting accelerates spiritual growth.
     ~The best veggies grow in sifted soil.
     ~Sifting enables us to teach out of our scars, not our theories.
     ~If you are not on the road to the right goal, then the road to success and failure are the same road.
     ~Everything God has invested in you is for the moment you are ready to quit. It's to get you through that dark night of the soul.

 Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers. Luke 22:31

He is praying for us, what do you want to train for?

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