I remember being part of my high school marching band and those hot afternoon practices under the southwest Florida sun. They were, in a word, brutal. The heat and humidity sapped our will and strength in short order, making the two-hour practices feel like marathons. The words I think were most often spoken at such events were, “Do it again, one more time.” It often caused me to have to summon the will, attitude, and ability to perform to my utmost, even though I just wanted to find some shade and Gatorade. The ingredient of every successful band, team, or artist is the discipline to do it again, one more time.
The same is true in our lives with God. We have thousands of years of Christian testimony from those who have gone before us who show us the value and critical need for spiritual discipline. Performing spiritual exercises softens our lives and prepares the ground of our innermost parts, allowing us to be formed and shaped by God’s hand. We can hear our spiritual ancestors calling from that great cloud of witnesses, “Do it again, one more time.” Praying, fasting, meditating, studying, serving, worshiping, keeping silent, and many more disciplines have been practiced to help us be available to the working, ways, and will of our Maker. It is hard work and some days difficult to persevere in “training ourselves to be godly” (1Timothy 4:7).
My wife and I tend some small gardens and planters on our property. We daily water, prune, and pull weeds, making it one more chore to keep up with. Yet we do it, day in and day out, nurturing the flowers, plants, and vegetables, providing all they need to flourish. There are days I don’t want to face the heat, the dirt, or the work. It is about that time when I turn the corner and am faced with the beauty of a shasta daisy in full bloom, or see a tomato plant full of fruit, and it takes my breath away.
Do it again, one more time.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. (2 Peter 1:5-7)
[Photo credit: rcweir]