I KNOW THE STEPS BY HEART
“…Through this PROCESS, HE MADE the altar HOLY by purifying it…” (Leviticus 8:5 NLT).
Practice is the ONLY way to get better at doing something. Practice builds your confidence about what you are doing. Practice improves your new abilities and skills.
Practice increases your experience and can create opportunities for you to teach others in that area. Practice motivates you to share your new abilities and skills in ways that benefit others. “….you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. REPEAT (practice) them again and again to your children….” (Deuteronomy 6:6 NLT).
After spiritual training and in order to gain some level of proficiency with your new abilities and skills regular practice is necessary. “…If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross DAILY, and follow Me…” (Luke 9:23 KJV).
Proficiency comes not so much with how often you practice, but from the quality of your practice. “…You must be CAREFUL to KEEP ALL of my decrees and regulations by putting them into PRACTICE. I am the Lord…” (Leviticus 19:37 NLT).
Proficiency of new spiritual abilities and skills are the results of faith and the indwelling Holy Spirit. “…The LORD will perfect (mature, make proficient)…. that which concerneth… [you]…” (Psalm 138:8 NASB). “…It is God who works in you TO WILL and TO ACT…” (Philippians 2:13 NIV).
Proficiency of spiritual abilities and skill are a reflection of daily routines of focused practice. “…KEEP ALL my decrees BY putting them into PRACTICE, for I am the Lord who makes you holy…” (Leviticus 20:8 NLT).
Focused practices become mundane/ordinary habits and are consistent, common, and steady parts of your daily routine of life. “…They seek Me DAILY, And delight to know My ways…” (Isaiah 58:2 KJV).
Focused practice become mundane/ordinary habits that are usually repetitive and NOT necessarily exciting. “…Job would purify his children. He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them. For Job said to himself, “Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s REGULAR PRACTICE…” (Job 1:5 NLT).
When you engage in focused practices as it relates to your new spiritual abilities and skills; God’s goal is conformation to the image of his SON. “…be conformed to the image of His Son…” (Romans 8:29 KJV). “…Be transformed by the renewing of your mind….” (Romans 12:2 KJV). “…And in the PROCESS of time “IT” CAME TO PASS…” (Genesis 4:3 KJV).
Spiritual training evolves into focused practice. Focused practice will be infused into your daily routine of life. “…Their DAILY responsibilities were carried out according to the terms of a royal command…” (Nehemiah 11:23 NLT).
Your daily routine causes you to engage in the consistent use of your spiritual abilities and skills. It will cause you to use your new spiritual abilities and skills correctly and long stretches of time will cause you to use them repetitively. “…And in the PROCESS of time “IT” CAME TO PASS…” (Genesis 4:3 KJV).
To benefit from your newly acquired spiritual abilities and skills focused practice will be infused into your daily routine. God uses long stretches of time to challenge your new spiritual abilities and skills as well as your patient endurance. “… Your ENDURANCE has a chance to grow. So let it grow….” (James 1:2-4 NLT).
God intervenes in your daily routine situations and circumstances of life in order grow and develop your new spiritual abilities and skills through focused practice. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way” (Psalms 37:23 KJV).
Focused practice infused into daily routine can stretch into days, weeks, months, or years and can often become wearisome. “…And in the PROCESS of time…” (Genesis 4:3 KJV). “Let us not become weary in doing good….” (Galatians 6:9 NIV).
Focused practice that has turned into a seemingly life-long marathon is NOT fun after a while. It is God’s timing, however, that has sovereignty and his heart-felt investment in your spiritual growth and development is his priority. “…at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up…” (Galatians 6:9 NIV).
Practice is the ONLY way to become more Christlike. Practice builds your faith in God by daily trusting him to work IN and THROUGH you. Practice improves your new abilities and skills in order to authentically become a vessel suitable for God’s holy purposes.
Practice increases your spiritual experience and will create opportunities for you to teach others according to your special training. Practice motivates you to share your new abilities and skills in ways that also benefit the spiritual growth and development of others.
Christian practices are NOT limited to prayer, participating in corporate bible study, going to Sunday day school, attending church services, having private bible study, discipleship training, or knowing Christian clichés. You can be trained to do those things and you can practice them as well, but God’s focus is on “the heart.” The heart “…is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked…who can know it [except God?]” (Jeremiah 17:9 KJV).
“...God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD LOOKS AT THE HEART…”(1 Samuel 16:7 NASB).
God knows that “….from WITHIN, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful DESIRES (emotions, passions), envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from WITHIN; they are what defile you…” (Mark 7:20-23 NLT). “... I [am] …a slave to the sin that is … WITHIN me …” (Romans 7:14-25 NLT).
“…No one needed… to tell him about human nature, for he knew what was in each person’s heart…” (John 2:24-25 NLT).. “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know everything I do…” (Psalms 139:1-6 NLT).
He knows if you are NOT real. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness… ” (Matthew 23:27 KJV). “…he knew what was in each person’s heart…” (John 2:24-25 NLT).
Therefore, when God intervenes on your daily routine of life he will infuse spiritual abilities and skills that will impact your heart. God looks at the “…hidden man of the heart…” (1 Peter 3:4 KJV).
God clearly saw the pride hidden in Hezekiah’s heart. “… Hezekiah’s heart was proud…” (2 Chronicles 32:25 NIV).
God is against pride. Hezekiah did a lot of good Christian-like practices. He restored the temple and its worship practices. Yet, in the mist of all his Christian-like deeds, his heart was prideful and God knew it. “In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. He prayed to the Lord, who answered him and gave him a miraculous sign. But Hezekiah’s heart was PROUD and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the Lord’s wrath was on him…” (2 Chronicles 32:24-25 NIV).
King Hezekiah did many Christian-like deeds. Doesn’t that count with God? No. God was not so concerned with Hezekiah’s deeds as much as he was about his heart. “...God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart…”(1 Samuel 16:7 NASB).
God is looking at the “…hidden man of the heart…” (1 Peter 3:4 KJV). “… From within, out of the heart of man, proceed evil thoughts…PRIDE….these … come from within, and DEFILE a person.” (Mark 7:21-23 KJV).
God intervened and put Hezekiah in a position to look at his own desperately wicked, human heart (Jeremiah 17:9). “… God left him, to try him that he might know all that was in his heart…” (2 Chronicles 32:31 KJV).
God saw for himself the pride hidden in Hezekiah’s heart. “…the Lord’s anger came against him... Then Hezekiah humbled himself…” (2 Chronicles 32:24-26 NLT).
“… Hezekiah’s heart was PROUD and he did not respond to the kindness shown him…” (2 Chronicles 32:25 NIV). Hezekiah eventually acknowledged his prideful attitude and his blatant ingratitude.
Hezekiah “… repented of the PRIDE of his heart; …therefore the Lord’s wrath did not come on [him]… (1 Chronicles 32:26 NIV).
God will continue to PUT you into places or KEEP you in a place where you CAN and WILL authentically – from the heart - practice his ways and do his will. “…UNTIL Christ be formed “IN” you…” (Galatians 4:19 KJV).
Practice is a part of the Christian journey. The practice of spiritual abilities and skills are infused into daily routine. Practice is ongoing and continual. Sometimes situations and circumstances immensely challenge those spiritual abilities and skills on a daily bases for days, weeks, months, or even years. “Let us not become weary in doing good…” (Galatians 6:9 NIV).
It is not unusual to grow weary in the process, but keep trusting God to work IN and THROUGH you. “…At the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 NIV).
While practicing we are often waiting on God to restore or fix something, someone, or some situation. The LONGER the practice lasts the more challenged our HOPE gets. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11 KJV). “…Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him…” (1 Corinthians 2:9 KJV).
What makes the longevity of practicing new spiritual abilities and skills routinely so challenging is the TIME FRAME. The reason it is challenging is because we often have our own expected time frame. Instead of simple trusting God’s time frame we think we know when enough is enough.
We often think God is taking TOO LONG. Time is passing, we are going older, things are lost in the process, people change, it begins to look unfixable, how we wanted it to turn out is long over, opportunities are missed, and disappointment gets louder and louder. “…If the Lord will, [I] shall live, and do this, or that...” (James 4:16 KJV).
However, keep practicing. God can take you from a PRISON of circumstances to POWER in ONE DAY. After 13 years of practicing Joseph became RULER. “…Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?” ….Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the DUNGEON; and he shaved, changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh. Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.” And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took his signet ring off his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand; and he clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. And he had him ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried out before him, “Bow the knee!” So he set him over all the land of Egypt. Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no man may lift his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”. …Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt. Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt…” (Genesis 41:37-46 NLT).