Whatever God has called and is calling us to do, we must continue practicing to become perfect so “what is partial would disappear” (1 Corinthians 13:10) Practice–whether piano, voice, football, typing, public speaking, or anything else—is like developing the character that Christ would have for each of us. This is a daily commitment. We must learn to “…let every temptation add to our perfection. Jesus Himself, learned obedience and grew in wisdom and favor with God.” (Hebrews 5:8-9)
In 1977, God gave me a book to write: Alone with God at Christmas. He told me to watch and pray and then give the book (free) to those to whom He led me. God said I should tell these people the book was to be used as their personal prayer diary. Each morning they were to pray the morning prayer and note their prayer experience. That same night before bed, they were to pray the meditation prayer, checking to see if they procrastinated on any “to do” items from the morning prayer.
For years, I’ve stated that we must spend time alone with God, daily—once a year at Christmas will not mature us. We must take part in maturing and putting away childish talk, ways and behavior. (1 Corinthians 13:11, GNB)
Practice requires action! We get better and improve our engineering, violin playing, Bible study, etc. with daily practice. I used to say, “I can’t pray in public.” Have you ever said such a thing? Sometimes past failure, rejection or abandonment can cause us to stop short of the call or purpose on our lives. (Romans 8:28) Now I pray where He tells me to.
Recently, I started using this book in our Ark PTSD classes. The PTSD group prayed the morning’s prayer from Alone with God at Christmas. We shared our thoughts and experiences, each having read one part of the prayer. This PTSD group is personal and private, with a commitment not to gossip or talk about our group discussion away from the group.
Each person was given a book and was told, “Tonight, when you pray the meditation prayer, write down your thoughts. Look back at your morning notes. Did you procrastinate about anything? What can you do better? Until we meet again, keep praying and determining what you can do better or to improve your life situation.” I could not have seen this in 1977, when God began preparing me.
Isolating ourselves from God and others is not sound wisdom. Proverbs 18:1 (NKJV) says: “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgement.” We are not to isolate ourselves but instead, make time to practice the presence of God… sharing our love and being loved. There is no shortcut. “We win victory over the world by means of our faith.” (1 John 5:4)
With balance, order and quietness together with Christ and the Holy Spirit, we will learn that true “love never fails.” (Romans 8:39) “God lives in union with us, and his love is made perfect in us.” (1 John 4:12) We must practice and share God’s love with others. It takes both courage and practice to love. Some people have been so brutalized in their lives that they are afraid to trust. “There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear.” (1 John 4:18)
You’ve heard, “What goes around comes around.” Well, as I’m entering this new approach to PTSD group, I look back and clearly see how God has led me since 1977 in His perfection process!
“I pray that your love will keep on growing more and more, together with true knowledge and perfect judgement, so that you will be able to choose what is best.” (Philippians 1:9) To accomplish more, we must never quit! Jesus was our “perfect sacrifice to God.” (Hebrews 9:14) He paid for our sins in full “…so we may serve the living God.” (Hebrews 9:12)