But even I know that if you want to play basketball well, you have to practice. You have to practice dribbling and shooting the ball – these are basic elements of the game, and you have to do them over and over to get good at them. And we could talk about what are the basic elements of our spiritual game – of worship or clerking.
But we also all know that to be good at dribbling and shooting the ball, we have to do even more basic training, like running laps and doing push-ups. Now you will probably never have to do a push-up in the middle of a basketball game, but we know that if we’ve been doing our push-ups in practice, we’ll have built the muscles we need to do the actual shooting and dribbling, to respond to whatever happens in the course of the game.
I invite you to think about what are your spiritual push-ups? For some, it might be journaling, or reading the Bible, or walking in nature.
For me, it includes abstaining from alcohol. I wonder if plain living is like losing that extra ten pounds so you can run farther and faster? (In both cases, it could be both cause and effect.)
One of the things about our spiritual lives is that we don’t know if next year we’re going to be on the basketball team, or the football team, or volleyball or the swim team. We don’t know if next season God will call us to lead some major political action or to be of comfort to a dying person. None of us knows. But if we’re out there, doing our spiritual push-ups all along, we’ll be better able to play whatever game we’re in.
Another way this metaphor works is that even when you’re in the play-offs, when things are really going hot and heavy, you have to keep doing your push-ups. And in the off-season, still doing your push-ups.
We all need to build our spiritual muscles so we’ll be ready to respond to the leadings of the Holy Spirit.
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