Maintenance Doesn’t Maintain

ID 21415699 © Andrey Burmakin | Dreamstime.com

Maintenance leads to decline. 

I’ve been a runner since my senior year of high school when the new tennis coach took conditioning to another level. Since then, I’ve run five marathons, numerous 5Ks, and a few half marathons. 

Years have passed since my last marathon. I’ve been in maintenance mode. My times have slowed. My distances have shortened. I’m winded more quickly.

Maintenance has not maintained my fitness. 

Training brings urgency. Intentionality. The long run on Saturday didn’t depend on how I felt, the weather conditions, or the day’s activities. When I had a marathon on the schedule, training runs became mandatory. In addition to the long run, if I had a specific time I wanted to hit for that race, speedwork also became mandatory. 

Training demands a different mindset. Running changes from recreation to work. That’s why you can borrow my 5K Turkey Trot shirt but not my Dallas marathon one.

Training costs: time, effort, energy, muscle soreness . . . 

Training also rewards you with endurance, speed, mental toughness, perseverance, and a higher pain threshold. You gain confidence from fighting your flesh, overcoming obstacles, and mastering the mental voice that tells you to quit.

Similarly, I don’t want to find myself in spiritual maintenance mode – doing the same spiritual workouts, running the same spiritual routes, and expecting growth and improvement. It’s not gonna happen. So, how should we train spiritually?

Consult the Coach: God knows whether you’re facing a 5K, 10K, a half, a full marathon, or an ultra. He knows the course He has mapped for you (flat, hilly, sharp inclines) and the conditions you’ll face on the course (wind, humidity, heat, or rain). Ask Him to direct your Bible reading and other supplemental material. “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, . . . the Spirit will receive from me [Jesus] what he will make known to you.” John 16:13, 15

Put The Time In: Do the work. Get up. Read your Bible. Pray. Journal. Worship. Get an accountability partner. 

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-25

Track Your Training: Journal. Journal. Journal. What has God revealed? How has He answered prayer? Note your God-moments. 

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11

Don’t fall victim to maintenance mode decline. Train with intentionality, direction, and purpose.

Workout for the Week: Maintenance Doesn’t Maintain

Memory Verse: Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25

Meditation Passage: Hebrews 12:1-13

Do It: Train.