Right now my husband is in the middle of a two-week hunting trip in the mountains of Washington State. They packed in eight miles by horseback. There is no cell phone coverage and no bathrooms. Just six men in tents. He is having the time of his life.

Two months ago when I returned from a mission trip to Canada, a small pile of camouflaged gear lay in one corner of our bedroom. It had begun.

“So,” I said to him casually, “is this here for the duration.”

He grinned. “Yep,” was his only response.

Every week the pile grew. Sleeping bag. Canteen. Socks. Spotting scope. Jackets. Well, you get the idea. As he got things washed, or purchased, or “sighted in” it was added to the mound. I just tried to ignore it.

But the pile was not the only way Wayne prepared for the big trip. About six months ago he stepped up his workout routine so he would be in good shape for all the hiking and climbing. He also had to break in the new hiking boots. Since there aren’t many hills out here in West Texas, he performed that task on the treadmill, while watching hunting shows on television. Then about the last month he also spent a little time several times a week shooting his bow. He had to be ready for the real thing.

Wayne was determined to make the most of his opportunity to be in the mountains. He disciplined himself and managed his time to meet that goal.

Many of us put similar energy into work and hobbies that we love and enjoy. But what about our spiritual training? The apostle Paul gave young Timothy this advice: “Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come (1 Timothy 4:7b-8).”

God works in us through spiritual discipline to shape and mold us into the people He wants us to be. It holds value for this life and the next. I continue to build on my “training schedule” to strengthen my spiritual muscles and stamina. I must admit, some days it’s lacking. I’ve even been through seasons where I let my training fall away and I had to recommit. How is your training going? Are you committed to a spiritual training program or is it haphazard at best?

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