My sweet friend, Ann Voskamp, rightly says,
“Practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation.”
As I begin a focus on training our children's character on Monday, a foundation for the significance of training is necessary. Scripture tells us to train up a child in the way he should go.
Training: the education, instruction and discipline of the knowledge of a value, a habit or an action to be learned. This from three different sources I combined--and so it is my definition! :)
When one is given knowledge of how to act, behave, and implement certain skills, the natural consequences include having wisdom on how to behave, confidence in action, and skill to employ in life. For this reason, training is essential to the healthy well-being of a child, so he or she may become wise, knowledgeable and competent in living life in a strong and healthy way.
Training can be illustrated in many ways. An athlete must learn and train to become a champion. A pianist must be instructed and practice to become a concert performer. An artist must learn the skills and philosophy of drawing and painting and then practice to become masterful at his craft.
Rembrandt became a master of light and a detailed painter of exquisite faces by training, practice, and years and years of painting, over and over and over again--practice. And so it is with any craft, skill, degree or accomplishment.
However, the need of training is also true of character and a Christian testimony--the character that is habituated to improving, developing integrity by practice, stretching to work hard, to do the best, to exceed expectations comes from daily practice and personal integrity. Those whose ideals are set high and aim each day to pursue those ideals will have the opportunity to become excellent in any field.
This comes from an inner grid, the way one learns to see life and expect himself to live. We called this "self-government," when we trained excellence of character into the very fiber of our children's souls.
We are surrounded by mediocrity, compromise and substandard Christians in several public arenas and personal situations lately. Morals are compromised, testimonies tarnished. I have asked myself, with the image of the living God imprinted upon my very being ... Shouldn't I, and all true believers, be able to call forth excellence and integrity as a reflection of Him in my life?
"...whatever a man sows, this he will also reap." Galatians 6:7
Yet excellence and integrity is a personal issue. One can only become this way through a personal commitment, a vision of oneself, and a decision that says,
"Regardless of what is happening around me, I will be the best I can be, work the hardest I am able, pursue the highest standards--especially for my personal life where no one but God sees--because I have been bought with a price and have His Holy Spirit residing within. My worship of Him requires that I pursue the standard of His holiness as an affirmation of His reality in my life."
Whether as a mother training the character of children, filling their minds with excellent writers, artists, and thinkers, or simply as a woman being a steward of every aspect of her life, one can only become excellent by stretching, determining to obey His still small voice and then using every resource to pursue bringing His light and imprint upon this world.
This labor of excellence, personally and in the lives of our children, will take many long years--but if we are not committed to pursuing whatever it takes to build this excellence, then what hope does our future have--and even more, how can we represent Him, who has given all?
Paul said, "Follow me as I follow Christ." We are called to become leaders that others can follow and emulate.With every year of faith, there should be more of Him reflecting through our lives; more excellence, more devotion, more wisdom, more influence.
It is not a choice, it is a call on our lives. We cannot say, "I am a Christian, but I think I will make "C"s or "D"s in my character choices." We aim high because the love of Christ compels us.
More in the months ahead. I have just been pondering--why are so many believers falling so short of His best? Why is there so much mediocrity in the character and behavior of people and especially believers in Christ in this generation? Could it be a lack of value placed upon the importance of training?
I am not writing about being a pharisee--a person of rules, pretending to display righteousness, but about exhibiting the qualities we are capable of and should expect as royalty--children of the most high God and King. We have set our standards far too low.......
May our hearts pursue Him and find in His presence that His very being is reflected in and through our hearts, as we train to more suitably emulate His reality.