My son was talking to me this morning about an article he read about deliberate practice . The article talks about great men (their purposeful emphasis is on men) and it addresses the issue of how greatness is the result of deliberate practice and is not simply inborn. For my son, it was an encouragement to work on the things he would like to be good at – and even great at. For me it prompted thoughts about spiritual greatness.
Now, spiritual greatness can be misconstrued to thinking we need to make ourselves seem more religious – but that is not what I mean. Spiritual greatness is really about being more solidly and consistently in the presence of God in a relationship of love and obedience. Think about those you would consider to be spiritual giants – what do their lives look like if not consistently Godly and solidly holy lives saturated with the presence of God’s Holy Spirit.
How do we get there? I think we take hold of the principle of deliberate practice. It’s a concept that says we don’t have to get everything right all at once. It’s also a concept that says we can’t just do anything and think we’re going to improve. Deliberate practice means breaking down the spiritual life into workable pieces and focusing on one piece at a time. It’s about working on the fundamentals and keeping at it.
What are the pieces and which ones should we work on? The pieces are things like prayer, fasting, sacrificial giving, engaging Scripture through reading and study,time of silence, mediation and listening, serving others, teaching others. The one you should work on is the one you decide to work on. Doesn’t mean you ignore the others, but choose one of the spiritual disciplines and work on that. Take time each day to get better in that area, to connect with God through that means of grace. And as you get stronger and more engaged with God in that area keep it going and work on another area.
The point is this – your relationship with God is the greatest thing to which you can give yourself, so give yourself to it. Practice. Deliberately. Get stronger. Draw closer. Know God and life with God more perfectly.
Holy high-five to you,