The Value of Spiritual Training
I had friends in high school who dreamed of excelling in sports, of being the star and even receiving a college scholarship. The problem with their aspirations was that they seldom practiced; a few never even bothered to try out.
More recently I’ve listened to aspiring writers who dream of having the next great novel, memoir, or nonfiction release. The problem with their ambition is that they’re not writing.
In both cases, they dream of glory but don’t want to put in the preliminary effort. Folks who don’t practice never become sports stars; people who don’t write never become the next best-selling author.
So it is with our spiritual journey.
We may desire to say bold prayers and see amazing results, to heal others with a word or a touch, to proclaim insights that move masses to faith or action, and to enjoy a direct line of two-way communication with God.
But results, such as these, often require years of struggle. Practice precedes performance. True, God could immediately bring someone to this point, but those things don’t generally happen without us doing our part first.
- Moses spent forty years in the desert preparing. Then he led a nation.
- David had years on the lam as a fugitive from King Saul. Then he became king, noted as a man after God’s own heart.
- Joseph spent time as a slave and years in the pokey. Then he experienced what God foretold him in his visions.
- Abraham lived as a nomad for decades, honing his faith and patience while awaiting God’s promise. Then he became the father of nations.
We may dream of possessing great spiritual power or producing amazing supernatural outcomes, but if we skip the preparatory time of praying, listening, waiting, seeking, and practicing, we’ll never become the people God wants us to be.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.