“Play to win” is a common saying. But the reality is that if you don’t train to win, you won’t find yourself winning at game time. This theory applies to all areas of life whether we are talking about our physical fitness, work ethic, business practices, school, etc. If we don’t put in the work behind the scenes to ensure everything is in shape and ready to go, then we’ll fail to meet our full potential for success when the spotlight turns on. Training well must become a lifelong practice.

Colossians 3:23-24 says, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” As servants of Christ, we are responsible for our attitudes and actions whether people are watching or not. This can be challenging to me when I’m doing something I don’t feel like doing, but with God’s help, I can meet that challenge and change my attitude from working “grudgingly” to “heartily.” The only way to have this radical change of attitude is to ask God to renew on our hearts and minds so we come in line with God’s will.

One thing we need to remember is that our hearts tell us who we are and who we can be. Our minds, however, have the power to limit our potential with negativity. This is why God tells us to guard our hearts and minds. The helmet of salvation protects our minds from false narratives; don’t forget to wear it (read Ephesians chapter 6). When God gives us direction and we begin walking in His promise, we will often find ourselves beset by roadblocks and frustration. That is when our minds will begin sending in negative feedback. It will tell us that if it is hard or not going smoothly that we must be doing something wrong. It says it isn’t worth the struggle. It says we can’t do it. Worse, it tells us we aren’t good enough, smart enough, or brave enough to keep trying.

It is in these moments, that we must turn our attention back to God, look to Jesus, and listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Let God confirm that you did hear Him correctly and then take captive those negative thoughts and bring them to obedience to God. Once you have done that, you will be able to return to working heartily for the Lord knowing that He will produce fruit from your labor. The difficulties you are facing may be the very tools God uses to get you where He needs you and to strengthen you for the good future He has planned.

Keep training, keep pushing, keep learning, keep growing! Train to win and hang on to God’s promises when you feel like giving up. In God’s time, He will reward you for your work and show you the fruit of your labor. Fair warning, it may not happen in the timeframe you want, and it may not look like you expect. But if you are serving God and seeking Him with a willing heart and surrendered mind, He will be faithful to do more in your life than you can even think or imagine.

May daily spiritual training spark inspiration and perseverance all areas of your life.