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I have a friend, a brother in Christ, a mentor who often has just the right words for getting me and others to the next right step on our walk with Jesus. With his many nuggets of wisdom, he has inspired and challenged me many times into moving forward towards fulfilling my Godly purpose.

One such phrase that has really moved me is the words, “Train! Don’t try!” When he said it, I didn’t understand it.  When he explained it, I didn’t like it. When I thought about it, I was inspired by the challenge.

It was during our weekly growth group conversations when he used those words for me. We were discussing growth steps in our faith. Particularly, we were discussing reading the bible. More particularly, the lack of reading the bible.

You see, it’s been more than 6 years since I accepted Christ as my savior. I have grown so much from the day I made public my surrender to Jesus. There have been years of obedience to God. Yet, when Ed came to the question, “and do you read the bible every day?”, my response was something like, “It’s hard. I’m not exactly doing it every day, but I’m trying.”

He then countered with, “Train! Don’t try!”

But, I didn’t understand it.

I was confused about what he meant with those words. Then he explained the phrase to me. When we try things, we are bound to fail. Failure is part of the trial and error process. And that is okay when we simply try.

Another problem with trying is that quitting is acceptable as well. We can try for a moment. After just enough trying, we can simply stop without accomplishing anything. We can justify it with a, “Well, at least we gave it a try.”

The end when trying can be signaled by success, failure, or even to stop trying. There is no commitment to any goal.

However, when we train, getting better is the only option. Improvement is the focus. Moving forward is the challenge. The end is triggered only by accomplishing the goal. Sometimes we train for a short period before accomplishing the goal. Sometimes we train a lifetime for what God’s goal may be for our lives. But when we train, we don’t stop until we get there.

So when I understood what he meant, I didn’t like it.

Sure he is a good friend. Sure he said it for my own good. Sure he was trying to encourage my growth as a Christian. But, ouch truth hurts!

The words made me feel like I really wasn’t doing enough. Like I was purposefully setting up myself for failure. Like I was giving myself an excuse to stop trying. I knew my “trying” to read the bible was really at a point where I really wasn’t trying. I didn’t like the phrase, because he was right. I was setting myself up to NOT read the Bible, yet give myself the credit for trying.

Then I thought about it some more and I was challenged by it.

I realized that I had not yet accomplished my goal of reading the bible. But I needed to continue that progress. I needed to move forward to accomplish the goal. I needed to continue down the path. To walk with Jesus. Sure I was not able to read the Bible in a year, as I had tried before. But, I could train for it!

Thanks Ed! I will train, not try!