Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Getting Better At What You Do

Photo by Sloan G.
A Professional Improves His Craft

I was recently watching a YouTube video that featured actor Will Smith. The main thrust of this video was Will discussing the various stages he went through as an actor and how he attempted to get just a little bit better everytime he did a new project.

I don't doubt this about Will Smith for one second. I believe what he's saying in this video because I've witnessed his progress along the way. From Fresh Prince of Bel Air to Independence Day to The Pursuit of Happyness to Seven Pounds, you can definitely see a growth in his acting abilities. He has studied and worked really hard to be one of the great leading actors of this generation.

Growth Requires Focus And Hard Work

If you're going to get better at anything, it's going to require focused intensity and hard work. This is true whether you are an actor, a politician, a writer, an entrepenuer, a business person, a musician, or a photographer. Talent and ability is only going to get you so far in your career and in your life. There are millions of people who have natural talents in the area of music, but when you think about it, there are really only a few thousand of them that are true superstars. The ones who "made it" in the area of music focused more on their craft and worked harder than everybody else.

We live in a culture though that is severely ADD. We are scattered all over the place in our work, in our families, in our churches, and in our lives in general. We're stressed out, over worked, and burned out because we lack focus on what we really should be doing. We've allowed a bunch of semi-important things to crowd out a few most important things. If we're truly going to grow, though, it's going to take laser-like focus and plain old hard work to see any kind of constant, steady improvement in any area of life.

Constant Improvement And Christianity

A hallmark of the Christian life should be constant, steady improvement. I'm not talking about a good works salvation, either. But, what I am saying is that each day when we wake up in the morning, our desire should be to live out the "Jesus' Way" just a little better than we did the day before.

As believers in Christ, we all have areas that need improvement in order for us to become more like Jesus each day. Each one of us has different strengths and weaknesses. Each one of us has a different set of sins that we struggle with and through in order to overcome by God's grace.

The Apostle Paul understood the importance of focused intensity and hard work in living out the Christian life. In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 he wrote these words:
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
Where Do You Need To Get Focused?

In what areas of your walk with Christ do you need to get focused and work really hard? What sin(s) do you need to finally overcome and lay aside in order to become more like the Savior. What spiritual disciplines do you need to focus on a daily basis in order to grow in your faith - daily Bible study, prayer, church attendance, and so on?

Today, consider the attitude of Will Smith as he has worked really hard in order to become one of the best actors of this generation. How much more so should we as Christians get focused and put in the hard work on our spiritual life and God's Kingdom work? These are the things in life that truly matter in this world and the world to come.

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