Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.Hebrews 6:1
As a volleyball coach for many years, I know about coaching, and I know that if an athlete wants to get better at her sport she has to practice, she has to work hard at her game and build upon what she’s already good at. While a few of my athletes would complain about practice time, the majority realized that without practice they wouldn’t be able to win a single game. This is a fact that all athletes understand: practice, repetition, working at your sport is a requirement for becoming a great athlete. In fact, it’s a requirement for anything you want to grow at: learning a new language, painting, or mechanics. If you want to move along in a field you have to practice it.
The same is true of faith. Like an athlete grows in their ability to play the game, so a believer is meant to grow in her faith. As Madeleine L’Engle once wrote, “Believing takes practice.” The way to faithfully grow isn’t by continuing to practice the basic questions like, “Is there a God?” Or “Is heaven for real?” Faithfully growing means accepting the basic doctrine of Christ and diving in deeper to understand more of who He is and who He wants us to be. If as a coach I spent each practice going over the rules of the game and the basic motor skills needed to play, my players wouldn’t have even been able to play a game. They needed to go beyond the basic elements of the game and move onto the different and varied scenarios they would encounter playing the game. In the same way, it is good that you have heard the good news of Jesus Christ and that you call yourself a believer, but every believer must move beyond the basics, no matter how deep their intellect, and dive into the Word of God, practicing not only the basics but living it to the point that you become a player/coach. Like any athlete you will make mistakes. You will miss the ball and lose a point, but as long as you are practicing alone and with others, you are advancing your faith and committing to faithfully grow.
Questions to ponder
What’s a sport or hobby that you tried when you were young that you loved? How did you feel about practice? Why?
When it comes to growing in your faith, which area, bible study or prayer, do you need more growth in? What’s your current practice schedule in each?
What practical steps will you take today and tomorrow to up your game when it comes to practicing your faith?