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Test Race

As the 2012 race season begins, I know there are a number of athletes and coaches who will use an event or specific training session as a test. By pushing your body to the max under race conditions or to a specified point in training, you can get an honest assessment regarding where you’re at physically. This information can be extremely useful as you set goals and expectations, mark progress, make short and long-term plans, and determine various training intensities for upcoming workouts. Basically, it helps to know where you’re at in order to strategically plan for the future.

Similar to physical test races, do you ever do spiritual “test races” to assess your current level of conditioning? If we desire to progress as we race towards winning an imperishable crown (1 Cor. 9:24-27), it might make sense to determine where we are and how well our training is going. With this information, we can more accurately assess what we may need to change in order to get where we are called to go.

As I considered various spiritual “test races” that we could use, understanding that there may be a number of good options, I felt led here: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Gal 5:22-23). As this passage states, these are nine qualities or graces that the Holy Spirit is responsible for producing within us as born-again disciples of Jesus Christ. While this fruit is a direct result of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives, NOT a result of our own effort, I believe it can be a good “test race,” as it is the evidence of how well we are walking by the Spirit of God (Gal 5:16).

And so, with the “course” laid before you, I invite you to prayerfully “race” through it.

    • Love – Are you exercising selfless love to all, including to those who deserve it least?
    • Joy – Are experiencing inner joy in every circumstance, simply by knowing God?
    • Peace – Do you have peace beyond understanding, rooted in complete trust of God’s plan?
    • Patience – How well do you wait upon the Lord and people, even when you’re busy?
    • Kindness – Do you desire what’s best for others and express that continually?
    • Goodness – How well do you put love into action, especially when it costs you something?
    • Faith – Are you trustworthy and dependable? Does your yes mean yes and your no mean no?
    • Gentleness – Are you considerate and compassionate in how you exercise power & authority?
    • Self-control – How well do you curb selfish or fleshly desires, even if no one else is around?

How did you do? Do you see some victories worth thanking and praising the Holy Spirit for? Do you see some areas where you may not be walking in full-submission to the Lord’s will, allowing your flesh to squelch a bountiful harvest? How was your result versus what you would have raced on the same course a year ago? Are you getting faster? Did you set a PR?

As was noted, the point of doing a test race may not be the race itself, but to gain useful information regarding where you’re at in your training and what needs to change in order to optimally progress towards your end-goals. We’ll cover some spiritual training techniques in future Aid Stations, but for now I invite each of us to reflect further on our current results. Please join me as I praise God for the Holy Spirit and His fruit in my life. Please also join me in repenting from any areas where you’re not walking in full submission with our Lord. Invite God to assume His role as Lord of every area of your life and ask for the Spirit to move powerfully within you as you walk with Him!

May we set a new PR the next time we “race”!

For God’s Glory,

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