Practice, Practice, Practice
In Jesus’ day a disciple was a student invited to follow a teacher, a rabbi. It was an honor to be called to be a disciple because only the best and the brightest were called. The goal of a disciple was to know what the rabbi knew and do what the rabbi did. The goal of a disciple was to become like the rabbi. How did that happen? Practice.
We may not be the brightest and the best, but Jesus has called all people to come and follow, to be disciples. We’ve been called because we’re loved. We’re all invited to know what Jesus knows and do what Jesus did. It’s a gift of grace. But how do we become like Jesus? Practice. I don’t understand the mysterious interplay of the Holy Spirit’s power at work, but I can bear witness from my own experience that transformation happens when we practice our faith.
The purpose of practice is to make something second nature. A jazz musician practices scales in order to improvise effortlessly. A basketball player practices a jump shot so that under pressure she can sink a buzzer-beater. An EMT practices first aid so that she can respond efficiently in a crisis. I do spiritual practices because I want peace to become second nature in difficult times, I want forgiveness to become second nature when wounded, I want love to become second nature in every interaction.
I’d like to invite you join me on a “30 Day ‘Good Life’ Challenge”. The world around us promises a “good life” if we just get more stuff, more power, more recognition, but many of us have discovered the emptiness of that way of living. Jesus promises a different kind of “good life”, a life of abundant love, joy and peace. So, for 30 days I want to invite you to practice the faith in simple ways, ways that have proven transformative for disciples over the centuries. Simple things like slowing down, breathing more deeply, living more simply. Want some suggestions? You’ll find some here.
A friend recently forwarded a brief video to me. It’s all about practicing the up, in and out pattern of Jesus’ life. It thought it was great. You can watch it here.
What spiritual practices have changed you? Leave a comment and share your experience.