In my karate classes I am constantly encouraging my students to practice outside of class. There is just not enough time in class to cover everything they need to work on each week. To be truly good, to have it become a part of who they are, they must practice daily.
Look at any accomplished athlete or musician; the ones who become really good, who are considered masters, are the ones who work at their craft daily. What professional football team doesn’t practice daily? What Olympic athlete doesn’t train daily? What karate master hasn’t trained daily for many years? What concert violinist doesn’t practice every day?
“There is no way I will ever be someone that great anyway.” Well, honestly, I fall into this camp; I will never be a great karate master… I don’t have enough years left in me to train in the martial arts for 40 years, and I don’t have that natural ability. So does that mean I shouldn’t train hard? Well, maybe I won’t be a master, but I am going to test for nidan (2nd degree black belt), and I better be good. That means I better train daily.
One Sunday morning it occurred to me that a Believer’s spiritual life is the same. How many people sit in church on Sunday morning and think that this is all there is to being a Christian? People, there is just not enough time on Sunday morning to cover everything you need for a whole week! “Preachers are the ones who need to work at it all week, they are the professional Christians.” OK, just like I will never be a martial arts master, I will never be a great theologian, and I will certainly never be a preacher. But the Christian’s life must be more than just sitting in a pew on Sunday morning. Why else would Scripture compare the Believer’s life to winning a race? You can’t win a race without preparing for it by running every day. Why is the Christian life portrayed as a battle to be fought? Would you send an untrained soldier into battle? Would one hour of training each week prepare either the runner or the soldier?
So what does all this mean? What does the Christian life consist of besides going to church? How do we train and what are we supposed to be practicing? I suggest you start by reading Scripture and talking to God about what you are reading.
Perhaps it is time to reflect on your life. Are you a Christian, or do you just go to church?
Rebecca A Givens, 02/07/09