Preparation Forms The Spiritual Life

Teenagers watch their favorite athlete. They try to mimic his or her style. They fail miserably at becoming a top athlete.

Why?

They didn’t mimic what they didn’t see–the work ethic of the top athletes. They practice and work out and eat right as a way of life.

Unless…they are like “Johnny Football.” The curse from my dad was to make me a Cleveland Browns fan. Although I’ve become increasingly disenchanted with the NFL, the curse lingers. And the geniuses drafted a known problem child but thought about bringing excitement to the town.

This is a kid who had one good year in college. Came to the pros as a cocky kid imitating the swagger of some top pros. Except–he forgot about the work ethic. And there is a lot of work that goes into being a top pro player.

Dallas Willard used the first example in his book The Spirit of the Disciplines as a metaphor for the life with Jesus.

We ask “What Would Jesus Do?” thinking about acting like he acted in public.

Do you ever think about Jesus’ preparation. He knew the Scriptures thoroughly. We know from a snippet of a story from when he was 12 and was studying with the great teachers at the Temple.

He studied, memorized, thought about the Scriptures. He could quote and interpret flawlessly.

We know his practice was to go off alone and pray.

Jesus put in the hard work of living a life of preparation in order to “be a pro.”

If we want to be like him, it’s not just asking what he’d do in a situation. Or wearing sandals and growing a beard. Or acting like we know it all.

There is the hard work of constant study. Reading and thinking about the scriptures. Praying, meditating, contemplation as we grow into a deeper relationship with God and our knowledge and wisdom increase.

That work need not be joyless. But it needs to become a way of life. Then we are ready to act like Jesus because it is just a natural part of our lives.

It’s easy to coast. But the fruits that come from a spiritual life only come to those who are prepared.

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One Response to “Preparation Forms The Spiritual Life”

  1. josephruizjr Says:

    Jesus was an overnight success after 30 years of prep. Love the image and the reminder of the value of preparation in study, prayer and availability. Thanks Gary

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