I've got to tell you that over the last year my golf game has become pretty bad. Most of you really aren't concerned about this and I am not bent out of shape about it. It is just a fact. When I began to think about why my game is so bad I came up with several valid reasons. First, I don't play much. You can't be good at something if you just think about it but never do it. Second, I don't practice. If practice makes perfect then no practice makes me as imperfect as I can be. Finally, my thoughts have not been about golf lately. So, let's see ... I don't engage the game mentally or physically but expect my scores to be the same as they were when I was more attentive to golf.
How about my faith? Do I treat it the same? Do I engage God's Word daily? Do I meditate on the Scriptures as the Bible demands? Do I practice my faith by applying what I have learned? You see where I am going with this.
In our Lenten study about grace we have learned that God pursues and draws us to Himself even before we know He exists. This is prevenient grace that leads us toward God and covers us when we are to young or mentally unable to know God. Then, there is God's saving grace that (when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior) makes me justified before a Holy God even though I am much less than holy. This week we will be speaking about another grace which can be summarized as growing in Christ. This grace, sanctifying grace, grows us up as Christians. We study God's Word. We serve God. We give to God's work. We love people that God has sent. We pray, fast, partake in the sacraments and we allow God's means of grace to lead us forward and upward toward what Paul called 'the goal.'
I won't get better at golf without physical and mental practice. We won't grow as Christians without engaging our faith physically, mentally and spiritually. If we love God with our heart, our soul, our mind and our strength, what else can we do?