I love watching my kids play soccer.
This summer I have three that are participating in the youth soccer program, which means that almost every Monday or Wednesday evening you can find me out at the High School practice field cheering them on.
Watching kids play sports can be a funny thing. When they are young they don’t know much about the game that they are trying to play. They take what they’ve seen and try it themselves, but it quickly becomes apparent that they have a lot to learn.
While they do their best, things like coordination, proper ball handling skills, sense of position, ball awareness and focus aren’t attributes that come immediately. These skills are learned over time through good coaching, lots of practice, and experience playing the game.
Like sports, the Christian life is all about growth and development.
When Jesus first met Peter, James, John and the rest of the disciples they were excited to follow him and had lots of ideas of how life would look. But when you read the Gospel stories you quickly see that they had a lot to learn. Following Jesus meant taking on a new attitude, new worldview, new character, new approach to life, none of which came naturally.
Like with sports, these changes came through countless hours with the coach, Jesus. The disciples listened, learned, practiced with each other and then tried to live it out in the world. The more time they spent with Jesus the more they developed, the more they became like him.
The same is true today. While I wish that I could have it all figured out and live perfectly now, that’s just not the way it works. Instead I must spend time listening to Jesus and learning from what God has spoken in the Bible. I must practice using my skills and living out my faith in Christian community and then seek to live it out in everyday life.
Sure, I’ll get it wrong from time to time. There will be times that I don’t know what I’m doing or forget what I’ve learned, but those are just opportunities to go back to the Bible for help, to practice doing it the right way, and try it again. What matters most is not whether I always get it right, but that I am developing my faith, my character, and growing closer to Jesus.
Are you growing & developing as a follower of Jesus or have you been satisfied with a Christianity that makes little difference in your life? Jesus wants us to get off the sidelines and to start living for him. He wants us to develop us. He wants us to be transformed.
“Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18)