We’re looking at scriptures related to the Building Blocks, spiritual practices we can adapt and use to “practice the presence of Christ.”
The beginning part of each year, some of us at Life- Journey Church begin completing a personal Soul Care Plan (Soul Care Plan Link). Part 1: The Soul Care Self-Assessment will help you discern where you are on your spiritual journey and identify possible next steps. Part 2: Soul Care Plan will help you plan, build, and main- tain a vibrant spiritual life throughout 2018. Be sure to print your assessment and results for your plan for 2018.
Today’s Block is “?”, for the Mystery Block.
Today’s scripture: James 1:2-4 (NRSV) (The Message) (KJV) What might God be saying to me?
My thoughts (Tyler Connoley):
In the original Karate Kid, Daniel Larusso learns discipline by spending hours doing chores that seem to have nothing to do with learning karate — such as waxing his teacher’s cars. Anyone who watched that movie remembers Mr. Muyagi saying, “Wax on. Wax off. Wax on. Wax off.” (You can see the scene here.) Only later, does Daniel learn that he has been practicing karate all along without knowing it. The movements his muscles learned in the motion of waxing those cars are the movements he will need to fend off the attacks of his karate opponents.
Spiritual training is often like physical training. The Apostle Paul even compared the two in his first letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). Like learning karate, spiritual growth takes practice, discipline, patience, perseverance, and most of all practice. I think this is what James was talking about when he said endurance has it’s full affect by making us mature and complete.
If we want to reach maturity in our spiritual life, we have to be willing to practice discipline in the way we live out our spirituality. It’s not enough to try the Building Blocks for a weekend, or a couple weeks, we need to practice them for our whole lives to see their full affect.
But, there’s another side to this Building Block, which I call “Practice.” When an athlete practices, she expects to make some mistakes once in while. Especially early on, an athlete finds that her body doesn’t move quite like she wants. A teenage basketball player, practicing her free throws, will miss more often then she will later in life when she’s thrown thousands more balls. It’s the same way with spiritual practice. Even if you find the discipline awkward at first, or you find yourself missing a practice here and there, keep at it. Because, it’s endurance that will allow you to reach maturity in your faith.
Thought for the day: In Matthew 5:48, Jesus says, “Be perfect, therefore, as your Father in heaven is perfect.” The word “perfect” in that verse is the same word translated as “mature and complete” in James. And, as any athlete will tell you, practice makes perfect.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.