The power to change: You don’t win by trying
Everyone likes to win. It’s fun to win a game or a race. But how do you train to win at things like marriage, health, or your relationship with God?
Bottom Line: Stop trying. Start training.
Something To Talk About:
- Trying permits us to find a way out: There’s thinking out there right now that if we just reach in a little further and try a little harder and find that part of ourselves that’s been hiding—we’ll finally get there. Wherever “there” may be. Whether it’s happiness, seeking the status we want, or breaking a habit, it is there if we just try a little harder. Trying harder is not the answer. Why? Trying is typically an attempt to change with minimal commitment. When you’re trying, you’re often like bringing a half-hearted attempt, and you’ve already got your excuse clause. It permits us to fail because we’ve already just said I’m trying; there’s a way out. I’m trying to read my Bible, but you’re probably not. I’m trying not to eat the whole thing, but I just did because trying is an attempt to change with minimal commitment.
- Training gives us the discipline to find a way through: We all have habits or patterns we need to break at one time or another. The key to transformation in our lives is to take our attention off ourselves and turn it towards Jesus. Ramping up our willpower is not the answer. Is accountability important? Yes, but ultimately, what sets us free is not our discipline but regular encounters with Jesus and some training. Training is a wholehearted commitment to achieve a specific result. It’s an all-in commitment designed to bring about a specific result. And you know the difference. When you’re trying, you just show up and hope. I’m trying to do better this time. 1 Timothy 4:7 says, “Train yourself to be Godly.” It doesn’t say try to be Godly. “What do I do”? “How do I train”? “What is training”? Training is doing what I can today to enable me to do even more tomorrow. Do you want to run a marathon tomorrow? Walk a mile today. But when you’re training, you get the gear, don’t you? You get the gear. If you’re going to be a runner, what do you do? You buy the shoes and the more expensive socks that are just there around your ankle. And you get the watch, and you might get the runner’s hat and the aerodynamic glasses. And you get the water bottle.
- What’s the difference between “trying” and “training” to do something? Would anyone like to share about a time when you tried hard to do something versus trained to do something?
- Describe a time in your life when you underwent “training,” whether physically, vocationally, or in some other way.
- What are some of the challenges and benefits of training? Do you enjoy seasons of training? Why or why not?
- Read 1 Timothy 4:7-8. What does “training in godliness” look like in the world today? What tools are helpful for this training?
- Read 1 Corinthians 9: 25-27. When have you experienced the difference between trying to do something difficult and training to do it?
- How are you intentionally training yourself for godliness?
- What’s your current mindset like when making a lasting change? What truths about your identity must you embrace to make the changes you want to see?
- What is one area of your life where you could train in godliness this week?
- What was your main takeaway from this week’s message?
Take One Thing Home with You:
Trying doesn’t work. Training does. What’s the difference? To try is to attempt to do the right thing by exerting effort in the moment. To train is to commit to developing strategic habits that equip you to do the right thing in the moment.
Let’s say you have a trying-based approach to change. The “moment” arrives. Like it usually does every day. You will have the opportunity to do the good thing you want to do. Or you will be hit with the temptation to do the bad thing you don’t want to do. In that moment, you will remember your goal. So you’ll muster all your willpower and determination and hope it’s enough to change.
If you commit to a training-based approach to change, it’s not about the moment but what you do before it comes. Training is doing what you can do today so you can do what you can’t do tomorrow.