Right now in Arizona and Florida, baseball teams are conducting spring training. This is a rigorous time, where “back to the basics” and “fundamentals” are preached every day from early in the morning until late in the afternoon. The next day, it’s done all over again. Around 30 games are played as well, which is meant to not only allow the players to apply and hone the skills they’ve been working on, but also for them to get used to the daily rigors of a season. One cannot simply show up and expect to be performing at the top of their game when the heat is turned up and the lights are turned on. When it counts the most, athletes rely on, lean on, and look to their training to help them through.
The interesting part about a baseball season is that it’s 162 games long, and that’s if your team doesn’t make the playoffs. If you begin working out, training seriously, and hoping to learn during that stretch of games, it’s too late. The work outs, training, and skills must be developed and honed in the winter months so that the results can be reaped in the summer. This is so much like our lives, too, if you really think about it. As Christians, we will walk through trials, walk through hardships, endure seasons that seem nearly impossible to bear. It’s not a question of IF these tough seasons will occur, it’s a question of WHEN. That’s why it’s incredibly important to start your training now. That way, when the heat is turned up and the bright lights are turned on, you will be able to rely on what you trained for.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
The Word of God helps us train for life on Earth but also holds promises of what’s to come in Eternity as well. We can absolutely open our Bibles when we walk through tough times, but those who train hard in the off-season are better equipped when that season rolls around.
Besides training for the season and honing their skills, the players in spring training are also building discipline. The Oxford Dictionary defines the word discipline as, “training oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way.” Discipline isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. There is no happenstance, no crossing of the fingers, no hoping that it works out. Discipline is a tried and true training regimen that can be relied upon when the battle comes.
Hebrews 12:11 says, For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Today and every day, I encourage you to train yourselves under the teaching of God and His Word. Build the discipline necessary to fight the battles of life in the moments of peace so that when the storm comes you’re ready and prepared. Professional athletes have spring training in February and March so that when October comes and it’s Game 7 of the World Series, they’re not trying to remember what skill is needed in that particular situation. They train now so that in the midst of a pennant race they aren’t physically fading and unable to keep up with the rigors of a season. The same goes for this life. Build your spiritual muscles and train under God’s Word so that you’re ready for whatever is thrown your way. Don’t rely on yourself, a lack of training, or poor discipline. Get up, go out, and head to spring training. You’ll be glad you did.
Michael Schlact is the Field Manager/Player Personnel for the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks Professional Baseball team. He was a 2004 3rd round MLB draft pick by the Texas Rangers & has been in professional baseball 13+ years. A native of Marietta, Ga., Michael has a wife, Jillian, & son, Sawyer. The couple is expecting another son in March.
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