Have you heard of the 10,000-hour rule?
This rule suggests that to master a skill you must spend 10,000 hours in deliberate practice. This theory infers to master a skill has less to do with ability and more to do with dedication and commitment. This is why we must commit to studying the Bible and put into practice what we read. It’s not going to take you 10,000 hours to master spiritual disciplines, but the point is we must be intentional about our spiritual growth.
Life will give you opportunities every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year to exercise spiritual disciplines.
In the letter written to the church of Thessalonica, (check out 1 Thessalonians 1), the Apostle Paul commends this young church for their faithfulness and lays out three qualities that will facilitate spiritual growth.
- Work of Faith
- Labor of Love
- Steadfastness of Hope
- Work of Faith.
The word work is translated from the Greek word “ergon” and means something to be done, toil. The work of faith is an intentional act of surrendering our habits, routines, and ways of thinking and establish a new pattern of living.
Faith and works are partners in spiritual development, not enemies.
“But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” James 2:18
We don’t work for salvation but work as a result of and response to salvation. It requires intentional effort to live by the Spirit. Godliness is not a plaque we hang on the wall, it is the continual work of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God in our life.
“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Romans 8:13
Godliness is identifying with Christ in His death by killing the deeds of the flesh. This isn’t automatic. Every day allow the fruit of the Spirit to be produced in your life by choosing, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; when the flesh would otherwise do the opposite.
- Labor of Love.
The word labor comes from the Greek word “kopos” and is synonymous with ergon, but is a more intensive word, indicating strenuous work, toil as reducing strength, pains.
The word love is the all familiar agape, which is an unconditional love. It’s a love that is independent of reciprocation or being deserved. It is how God loves us. We don’t always reciprocate agape love and we don’t deserve it, but God loves us anyway. From a human standpoint, this kind of love takes work.
If you’re in the habit of only loving people who love you or those who are nice to you, then you need to pull up your sleeves and get to work. But Pastor Mike, this is not an easy thing to do, of course it isn’t. If it was easy it wouldn’t be labeled as labor, it would be a vacation of love! Loving people is a lot easier when you have put in the work to build faith.
- Steadfastness of hope.
The word for steadfastness (endurance) is “hypomone.” It means to persevere, remain under, and is always associated with hope. As followers of Christ, we need to develop perseverance. You’ve heard the saying, “When the going get’s tough the tough get going.” According to Paul when the going gets tough, we don’t budge.
- We remain under that weight.
- We endure it.
- We persevere in severe circumstances with a hope that God sees it and will stand with us.
In defining hope, Paul says in verse 10, “and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” We are to live with the hope of eternity in view of every circumstance.
When we live with eternity on our horizon we maintain joy and peace that comes from the Holy Spirit. If not we allow circumstances and stress of this world to take our eyes off heaven, and forfeit our joy and peace in the moment
- Are you putting in the time to grow spiritually?
- Are you intentionally reading and applying the scriptures to your daily life?
- Are you laboring to love people as God loves you?
If you’re not, make a fresh commitment today to develop godliness and be aligned with God’s word!