Practice is part of practically everyday and is often designed around fine tuning a skill, learning a new technique or strategy, strengthening your core, and building endurance. When an athlete practices, she is either trying to maximize her greatest strengths and/or working to improve in an area of weakness. For team sports, practice includes learning to work together and play together in order to compliment each others strengths and compensate for each others weaknesses.
As an athlete you would never think of just showing up for a game. Athletes know you must prepare and practice in order play well.
I think this is true in the spiritual sense as well. This morning I was journaling and reading Isaiah 61:1-4 and some other surrounding passages. I decided to look at another passage in Ephesians chapter 6. I'd encourage you to read all of Ephesians to see the context of the letter.
Here is a bit of what I noticed this morning in the last part of this letter (specifically chapter 6, verses 10-20). Listen to these excerpts....
Finally, be strong in the Lord...
therefore put on the full armor of God, SO THAT when...
Okay, I am not one for pulling scripture out of context and focusing on a few words. But these words stuck me today. SO THAT when... Spending time with God through spiritual practices is SO THAT WHEN whatever comes our way, we can stand strong.
On the very day I wrote these words, one of my closest friends called to let me know that she was facing one of her deepest fears head on that very morning. Without hesitation, I rearranged my schedule to be by her side. Just to be with her to walk alongside her through this unexpected detour.
You see I am thankful for two things --
- I'm continuing to develop a relationship with God that I've been "practicing" for years and as a result I know I can trust him in all things and
- I've been building a relationship with my friend that you might say I've been "practicing" for years and as I result we will walk through this side by side.
Life is coming at us in all directions. Sometimes we can anticipate what is coming around the corner. Other times we are knocked to the ground with life's unexpected challenges. Although I can't predict the outcome, I can be strong and faithful as a Christ follower and friend because I've been practicing for years.
Practice doesn't make us perfect nor does it make life work out perfectly. Practice makes living in sync with God possible and helps us live in ways that are God honoring.
Making it Your Own
What character of God do you find the easiest to rely on?
What character of God do you find the most difficult to rely on?
Which scriptures or Bible passages have you found most helpful in building your spiritual muscles and endurance for living?
Commit to building up your weaker muscles. Devise a practice schedule that includes a variety of spiritual practices. Make sure to share you ideas with each other!
I encourage you to spend time and energy connecting with God through spiritual practices.