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Stumbling Through

Stumbling Through

Posted by Austin Ashenbrenner on

How do you train for a marathon? You run…a lot. How do you get ready for a piano recital? You practice piano. Or, in my case you don’t and end up looking silly at your 4th grade recital. How do you learn to drive? You study, practice, take the test, and then hit the road.

How do you grow in your faith? How do you become equipped for the work of ministry, “for building up the body of Christ”? Strangely, spiritual growth feels different than these other areas of life. We all understand that to make progress in other areas of our lives we have to devote ourselves to putting in the work. We understand that we’ll make mistakes on the piano, we’ll miss a day or two of running, or we’ll miss a few questions on the driver’s test. But, we also understand that we will keep going. Yet, in the process of growing in faith and discipleship as we follow Jesus we tend to invent a different set of rules. We think that we have to be perfect and that mistakes or set-backs somehow instantly disqualify us from further progress. We assume that somehow growth will just happen or that we’re doing pretty well just the way we are now.

The reality that we encounter in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is that this life of following Jesus is actually much closer to the other areas of life where we pursue growth. Just like exercise or piano practice we will make mistakes, we’ll get tired and we’ll consider quitting. Also like these areas, growth will happen slowly, steadily, and the more we try the more fun we’ll have.

Ultimately this metaphor of practicing piano or running falls apart though…because unlike my piano teacher Jesus doesn’t wait for us to get our act together. He comes to us first and says, “you are mine!”  He promises to be with us and that he will be constantly working with us in this process.

I hope all of this is a word of encouragement as we here at SPC spend the next few weeks to explore how we all become the saints of the church, equipped for ministry. We can do this! One foot in front of the next, one day at a time, falling down, getting back up, and pressing on.  With Jesus’ help and with each other’s encouragement we will grow in our love for God and for others. My hope is that as we stumble through (see what I did there) this sermon series and this idea of spiritual growth, that we will all experience the joy that comes from following Jesus. Instead of seeing this as drudgery or “eating our vegetables” we will see the fun and excitement of serving others alongside our friends, and watching our kids light up when they run to JAM City. I’m looking forward to this challenge and I hope you all are too.  With Jesus’ help…here we go!

 

Austin

Tags: faith, practice, stumbling through

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