Training a long lasting, confident, consistent horse is
a process that starts with very basic steps and progresses only as each step
becomes solid. We introduce only one concept or maneuver at a time.
It is repeated until the horse understands it and can apply it. It is
repeated, rewarded and tested.
Horses are first taught to walk forward. Then we work
on guiding them in forward motion. The next step is to teach them to
yield in motion to side pressures. They are taught to stop, back up and
side pass as they progress. This is all done at a walk. Then they
must advance and learn maneuvers at a trot and a canter.
We arrive at the finished product only by constant
repetition, reward, punishment and testing. If we skip steps, at some
time in that horse's life, those steps will have to be interjected back into
their training program. And if the steps are not tested before speed is
applied, we are building a horse with a crack in his foundation.
When all the tests are passed at home, the horse is ready
to start entering competition. Then we find out how our product performs
under pressure. This is another test. If he fails to pass the test
in competition, then it is back to the training pen to fix the area where he
failed. Then he must be put under pressure again and tested.
The point of this devotion is this. In our Christian
walk, we move from level to level. We learn by attending a local church,
sermons, Bible study, songs, Christian radio and T.V. and fellowshipping with
other Christians. But, we will never know what we are learning until it
is put to the test.
When test time is here, we find out what is inside of
us. We find out if we have truly learned the things that we have heard
and studied. We have a great opportunity at test time to apply what we
James wrote to the early Christians these words:
"Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and tests? Then
be happy for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow.
So, let it grow, and don't try to squirm out of your problems. For when
your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything,
strong in character, full and complete." One Bible version ends
that passage by saying we will become mature.
Life can become difficult very quickly. Things can
change in an instant from going good to being difficult. We need to look
at difficulties as great opportunities. When a great horse is put under
pressure, he performs like a champion ONLY after he has experienced pressure
and learned how to handle it. We will never know if we can handle
pressure until we have experienced it.
If you are put to the test and fail - remember that God's
grace is around to pick you up and give you another chance. The lessons
that we fail will probably be repeated. God knows when we are trying.
He is delighted when we are trying to apply what we are learning. Try
takes a front seat over talent. Would you rather have a horse that tries
very hard or a talented one that has no try?
Life will bring us great times of testing. Adversity
causes some to break down and others to break records. The difference in
breaking down and breaking records is allowing the stress of adversity to
cause growth inside of us and make us stronger instead of becoming bitter and
weaker from resisting it.
Due to a set of circumstances, my husband and I have become
the caretakers of two of our grandchildren for the next 3 1/2 weeks.
Their ages are 1 and 3. This is a big change in our lives. We
haven't had little children around on a steady basis for over 20 years.
This is a big testing opportunity. I have studied about patience - now
is the time to apply it. I have studied about love - now is the time to
apply it. I have studied about keeping my mind on the right things - now
is the time to put that into action. I have studied about complaining -
I will strive to do none of that. I pray to pass more times than I fail.
The world needs to learn about Jesus by watching us.
When things are going perfect, anyone can look good, but when things are
difficult, we are really being studied by others to see how we react.
What are your opportunities this week? Pray for me to
pass this test and I will pray for you that when we are tried by fire, we will
come forth shining better than gold! 1 Peter 1:7