Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Practice Makes Perfect..or Not

I am not a runner and I never have been. I used to tell my friends, "If you see me running, you'd better run, too, 'cause very wrong."

The last few years, I've been inspired to at least exercise--and I've tried to learn how to run: Couch to 5K (tried and failed),  online fitness programs, books on body stewardship and exercise basics. I've tried. So far, practice hasn't made (anything) perfect.

Once, in the fitness room of a hotel, I struck up a conversation with a young girl. "Never give up," I puffed. "When you feel like giving up, remember this old lady on the treadmill and keep trying."

That scene sums up life. We look to and are encouraged by those ahead of us who don't give up. When we don't see spiritual growth the way we'd like, we keep trying. When others outshine us in performance or excellence, we keep going. When life isn't all we thought it would be, we press on. Why? Not because practice makes perfect, but because practice equals faithfulness and faithfulness represents our God and Father.

God is faithful to us. He sent Jesus. Jesus, who faithfully completed the work of the Father and continues to intercede for us. God the Father, through Christ, works faithfulness in our lives by His Spirit and through His Word. Because of God's faithfulness, we, too, can be faithful. He never gives up!

Even knowing we will never be perfect here on earth, we can strive for daily fellowship with God, examine our hearts and lives, intercede for others, serve selflessly, give generously, live righteously. Our efforts are not dependent on our will power, self-effort or sufficiency, but "our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." (2 Corinthians 3:5-6)

In a practical, personal way, I may have found something that works. I'm still trying. Maybe "None to Run" for those over in weight and old in age will push me over the edge. There's always hope... And, whether or not I succeed in running a 5K before retirement, I have confidence that God is building my character, directing my steps and preparing me for an eternity of blessing.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:1-5)

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