I’ve always wanted to play an instrument, but have never made it past a casual attempt. Oh, how I’d love to learn to draw and paint and crochet. In fact, there are so many things I’d love to learn to do, and I might even follow through if only they came easily. If I could snap my fingers and suddenly play like Mozart, or paint like Thomas Kinkade, or sew like those ladies I see at craft shows. But I’m not willing to do what it takes to succeed, and so, ten years from now I’ll likely still be sitting behind my computer listening to other musicians on Pandora saying, “Wow, I wish I could play.”
But do I really? (To my writer friends, I touched on this subject on Thursday at Words That Keep. Thinking this nugget of truth quite likely applies to all areas of life. Pop on by and let me know what you think…and…what you’re going to do about it.)
A Lifetime of Practice
The music is beautiful. Her fingers move effortlessly over the black and white keys. She’s practiced for years and it shows. There were times over the years that she wanted to quit. But we encouraged her to persevere. Piano lessons and countless hours of practice have made the difference.
Tackling an instrument is challenging. It takes a willingness to learn from the teacher. It takes discipline. It takes practice. And more practice. Hours of practice. Years of practice. Our daughter, Riley, has been able to use her talent to accompany school and church choirs, in addition to playing for our families’ personal enjoyment.
There’s an unmistakable similarity between the musician and the child of God. I have to be willing to learn from the Master. He bids me to humble myself before Him, “Submit yourselves therefore to God” (James 4:7a; KJV). An attitude of humility is pleasing to Him. “…God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (James 4:6b). It is when I’m aware that I don’t know it all that I’m in the perfect position to learn.
Discipline is required. Oh, the lessons He desires to teach me, if I stay pliable in His hands. “But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand” (Isaiah 64:8). Discipline to stay in the Potter’s hand rather than jumping down. Discipline to stay in His hand with my eyes focused on His, refusing to look at all the other lovely vessels He’s crafted. Discipline to allow Him to lovingly mold me into the shape of His choosing, rather than suggest to Him the type of vessel I should be.
Christ speaks to the level of discipline required of the child of God. “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). For the serious musician, other pursuits have to take a back seat. The same is true of Christians. Am I denying myself? Am I daily taking up the cross He has for me? Am I following Him closely? What is my top priority? My agenda or His? All questions that help to determine how disciplined I am.
Practice, practice, practice. I’m thankful that our Heavenly Father graciously gives us a lifetime of practice. He knows our “frame; he remembereth that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14). He is the ultimate encourager. “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9). He forgives us when we fail. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). He graciously allows us to start over. “And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:11)
Ultimately, our lifetime of practice will end in perfect ‘music’ in heaven. Until then, stay humbly submitted to the Master and continue to practice. Your ‘music’ will be ‘heard’ by others. May the sweet sounds of a life lived for Christ, lead others to Him!
Maria I. Morgan is an inspirational/devotional writer, whose passion is to share the truths of God’s Word with today’s generation. She is a regular contributor to Around About Cumming, Cumming Patch, and Living by Grace. You can visit her on the web Tuesdays and Thursdays for a life lesson you can relate to. Maria lives in Georgia with her husband, Steve, daughter, Riley, their two dogs and cat. You can find Maria on her blog Life Lessons.