Our grandson, Luca, is now playing his third year of hockey. He has excellent coaches who are very focused on helping the kids develop the basic skills of the game. Skills such as skating, stopping, passing, shooting and stick handling. Typically, they practice twice a week and over the years I have seen Luca and the kids progress in their development of these skills.
Skills are not things we are born with; however, they are things which can be learned, and perfected through practice and dedication. Some of the kids are blessed with more natural athletic ability than others, but each child has been able to learn and perform these skills to a level which allows them to play the game.
What about Christians? What are some of the fundamental skills that we require to live a life of service for God? What follows is not an exhaustive list but is perhaps a good start:
Putting God First – Matthew 6: 31-33 teaches us that we are to put God’s kingdom and His righteousness first and that when we do, our heavenly Father will take care of our physical needs. It is essential that we learn to put God first in our lives and not to live a life focused on worldly pursuits.
Prayer – Prayer is an incredibly powerful tool for the child of God. Prayer can reduce anxiety (Philippians 4:6). It gives us the ability to understand the will of our Creator (Colossians 1:9). It also has the power to heal the sick (James 5:14-16) and to help us reach others with the gospel message (Colossians 4:3).
Bible Study – A knowledge and understanding of scripture is necessary for wisdom and is able to equip us for good works. II Timothy 3:14-17 and II Timothy 2:15 exhort us to correctly handle the word of truth. Regular and consistent Bible study is the means by which we may present ourselves to God as one of whom He approves. Hearing the word of God allows us to grow in our faith and to trust God more. (Romans 10:17).
Giving – Paul tells us in II Corinthians 9:6-11 to give purposely, generously and cheerfully. He also states that in our giving, through grace, God will ensure we have an abundance for every good work. Proverbs 3:9 encourages us to honour God with our wealth.
Acquiring Wisdom – The book of Proverbs is rich with scriptures encouraging us to seek wisdom and the value that comes in seeking it. Proverbs 16:16 states that wisdom is superior to riches. Proverbs 2:6 teaches us that wisdom comes from the Lord. Proverbs 4:6-7 instructs us to not forsake wisdom. James 3:13 tells us to show our wisdom through our good life and deeds in humility and James 1:5 encourages us to pray for wisdom.
Fostering Relationships – Our lives are blessed with a number of relationships, each of which require time and energy to foster. I Thessalonians 5:11 and Ephesians 4:29 encourage us to build one another up while avoiding unwholesome talk. Hebrews 10:24 urges us to spur one another on toward love and good deeds and not to give up meeting together. Colossians 4:5 instructs us to be wise in how we deal with outsiders, making the most of every opportunity.
Evangelism – All of us were taught the Good News by someone. Likewise, we too, need to be prepared and ready to share our understanding of God’s will with others. Psalms 105:1 teaches us that we are to make known what God has done. I Peter 3:15 reminds us that we always need to be prepared to give the reason for the hope that we have. In Acts 20:24 Paul identifies that the most important thing he needs to do is to testify to the gospel of God’s grace.
I believe that through God’s amazing grace these are the skills we can learn and develop. We may not all perform these skills at the same level, but each is needed as we serve our God.
Luca practices hockey twice a week, but there are no significant eternal consequences associated with this. Even though our heavenly inheritance is ours by the grace of God, there are real eternal consequences associated with our Christian walk. Our challenge is to take the time each day to practice and master these skills to fulfill our walk with God.
Owen Sound ON