Trying vs. Training

Series - Something Better
Presenter - Pastor Matt Surber
Date - August 1, 2021

Pastor Matt Surber discusses the difference between trying and training as a Christ-follower and offers practical steps to training spiritually with purpose and discipline.


Sermon Notes

Something Better Week Two

Trying vs. Training

Review:  All of us want something better for our lives…

Better shape, financial stability, better marriage, new stuff, closer to God…

Trying vs. Training

Discipline:  Choosing the BEST (takes time) over the IMMEDIATE

1 Corinthians 9:23-27

23 Now I do all this because of the gospel, so I may become a partner in its benefits. 

24 Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. 25 Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away. 26 Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. 27 Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

24 Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize.

God didn’t say be mediocre, sleep in, try you best…. RUN TO WIN!

So why aren’t you winning, achieving goals, making progress? Still not in shape, still broke, fragmented relationships, still not reading your bible or praying… Frustrated!  WHY?

  • You’ve Been Trying Too Long

Stop Trying, Start Training…

  • TRYING is an attempt to change w/minimal commitment
  • TRAINING is a wholehearted commitment to achieve a specific result

When your “trying”. Give up if its too hard – don’t feel like it

TRAINING…Don’t act according to feelings, act according to commitment! 

 25 Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything.

“Self Control” where we get our word AGONY


1 Timothy 4:7

Train yourself to be godly.

Paul didn’t say TRY and if it doesn’t work, no big deal. 

Paul’s metaphor in 1 Corinthians is about the Christian life!  TRAIN TO BE MORE LIKE JESUS

In other words, as you understand how these men train, how these men deny themselves, how these men made choices, how these men had a purpose that drove them, how they were single-minded, how they marched to the beat of a different drum, you live your Christian life exactly the way they lived theirs. That’s what he’s saying. Don’t ever think about the fact that you have any R & R. It’s every day, every moment, every breath that you live the Christian life with purpose in mind, with integrity in mind, and the discipline of denying yourself.

Training… is doing what I can today, to enable me to do even more tomorrow

So How Do I Train…?

  • Know Your Identity 

Trying… hoping to become something I’m not

Training… getting better at what I already am!

Christian, child of the King, adopted, forgiven, bought with a price, filled with the Holy Spirit.

100% dependent and 100% responsible 

…Discipline my spiritual body like an athlete!

  • Getting Rid of The Things That Hold You Back…

Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

  • Train With Purpose and Discipline

27 Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

23 Now I do all this because of the gospel…

Training with purpose and discipline is my response to the gospel and to show others the gospel.

John Piper says that “Eternal Life Hangs on the Way We Run – In other words life is not a game with no lasting consequences. The way we live our lives has eternal consequences. Life is a proving ground where we prove who we are, whom we trust, and what we cherish. Eternal life, the upward call, the crown of righteousness—all these hang on what our life says about who we are, whom we trust, and what we love. Make no mistake here! Life is not a place for proving to God or anybody your strength. Life is a place for proving whose strength you trust—man’s or God’s. Life is not a place for proving the power of your intelligence to know truth. It’s a place for proving the power of God’s grace to show truth (Matthew 16:17). Life is not a field for demonstrating the force of our will to make good choices. It’s a field for showing how the beauty of Christ takes us captive and constrains us to choose and run for his glory. The race of life has eternal consequences not because we are saved by works, but because Christ has saved us from dead works to serve the living and true God with Olympic passion (Hebrews 9:14). The race of life has eternal consequences not because grace is nullified by the way we run, but because grace is verified by the way we run. “By the grace of God I am what I am and his grace toward me was not in vain, but I labored [I ran, I fought] more exceedingly than all, yet it was not I but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10). Paul’s running did not nullify the purpose of grace; it verified the power of grace. Eternal life hangs on the way we run and the way we fight not because salvation is based on the merit of works, but because faith without works is dead (James 2:26). Life is a proving ground for whether faith is alive or dead—a proving ground for whom we trust. 

Quit Trying and Start Training!

Practical Steps…

  1. You need accountability and encouragement (CHURCH)
  2. Time In God’s Word
  3. Prayer 
  4. Love (serve)

Something New

Pastor Matt Surber challenges us to trust that God will do something new in our lives and in the ministries of Mission City Church.

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Quit Trying Harder

Guest Speaker Paul Stohler unpacks what it means to be disciplined and reminds us that our identity is ultimately found in Christ Jesus.

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