(I totally hijacked an entire article on weight training/power lifting by Jim Wendler and changed about 25 phrases to reflect a life of discipleship. The bold words are mine the rest is his. The original article is here www.jimwendler.com/2015/09habits-of-strang-lifters/. He has some pretty brilliant training perspectives. As you’ll see bleeding through this re-written article)
Without a doubt, the strongest and best disciples in the world have consistently busted their buns in the prayer room. For decades. Not weeks, not a year, but decades. There are genetic freaks out there that achieve a high level of spirituality quickly, but comparing yourself to them is unfair and will probably drive you out of the faith and into a 10-year “I hate church” bender. Now, consistency doesn’t always mean they’re going all out, every day. It means they chip away slowly, but surely.
Even with failures, hard times, faltering of spiritual leadership, terrible churches, etc., the great disciples will find a way to adapt and overcome. If that means following Christ alone in your own sanctuary at your house, they do it. If that means having to train in a mega church by themselves, they get it done. If that means they have to train around wounds, they research and find a way. Nothing will stand in their way and when an obstacle appears, they don’t get frustrated; they simply find a different route around it. It’s easy to be motivated and excited to pray when everything is going your way. It’s another thing to hit a wall, scramble, kick, and scratch until you look back and see the marks of blood and sweat you leave behind.
Open Mind (with Filter)
You have to be open to new ideas, but you have to also be wary of what you read. Usually an older, more experienced disciple can filter through some of the bullstuff, but sometimes desperation can lead to some poor decisions. A disciple MUST have a core, a philosophy that he adheres to. He has to STAND for something. Yet he also has to learn to open himself up to new ideas and be smart enough to place them into his discipleship without upsetting his core beliefs.
Now those are the “mind musts” of being involved with discipleship for a long time. Here are the “body musts.”
- Stretching and mobility should be a priority. (Get outside of your confort zones regularly. If you think you have it figured out YOU ARE MOST WRONG.)
- Maintain decent conditioning levels – you don’t need to be a “40 day faster” but don’t turn into a heavy breathing slob either.
- Use a full range of motion. (Don’t keep yourself so confined in your perspective, move around in your faith. Visit the homeless shelter, be around middle class believers, those of other ethnicities. For Christ’s sake don’t just go through the motions)
- Understand the difference between praying and living a prayerful life.
- You didn’t start a life of discipleship to become hidden. (Some of you really need to let that one sink in.)
- Train around injuries, not through them. (Recognize your wounds and address them, don’t pretend to be well when you’re not)
- Write a Discipleship Manifesto – I have a “Train to be Awesome” list that I refer to when I feel like I’m losing track of where I’m going/where I’ve been. Refer to this when you’re “lost.” Everyone needs to have their own Training Manifesto and it’s all based on what you need and want from training. You don’t have to share this with anyone – just hold yourself accountable.
- Don’t be afraid to do what you want, not what others want you to do. Don’t hold yourself to others’ standards – especially when your standards should be higher.
- Training should be fun; there’s joy in the pain of the process. When it becomes tiresome or becomes a “job” remember why you began discipleship in the first place. It’s not supposed to appease anyone but you and Christ..
- Fads come and go, but the Bible remains the same. Respect it accordingly.