Train yourself to be godly.
1 Timothy 4:7
How quickly can you say your ABCs? If you've got a nimble tongue you can recite the entire alphabet in about four seconds. Try it; I'm in no hurry.
Okay, very good. Now, try reciting the alphabet again -- and make sure you time yourself --but this time start with Z and go backwards to A.
Hmmm . . . not quite as impressive.
Let's try something else. Few things are easier than buttoning a shirt. You've done it hundreds of thousands of times. So, with your hands folded on your lap, imagine exactly how you button your shirt.
It's harder than you think. Do you use your middle fingers? What do your thumbs do? What does your left hand do? What are the last fingers to touch the button?
Malcom Gladwell stared at Vic Braden in disbelief. "What do you mean? That's crazy!" Gladwell could hardly believe what Braden, a famous tennis coach, had just told him. Braden interviewed some of the best tennis players in the world, such as Andre Aggasi, Pete Sampras, Chris Evert, and Jimmy Conners, and would hold long conversations with them about their game.
For over thirty years Braden talked to the best tennis players in the world, "I can honestly say that there is nothing to be learned about tennis," Braden confided to Gladwell, "from talking to top tennis players about tennis."
Braden, for example, would ask the tennis greats, "How do you hit a topspin forehand?" Every one of them told him that, at the moment of impact, they would roll their wrists. Braden then filmed these tennis players in top tournaments and discovered that not one of them roll their wrists at the moment of impact. They only roll their wrists after the ball is gone as part of their follow-through.
When the best tennis players in the world hit a topspin forehand, it's as natural and unconscious as saying your ABCs or buttoning a shirt.
I'm quite conscious about my spirituality. I know when I'm generous or when I'm (trying to be) patient. You know why? I'm still on my learner's permit and following Jesus has yet to become second nature. My wife, on the other hand, doesn't think of herself as generous or patient. That's because she is. It's second nature to her.
The apostle Paul wrote to his young protégé, Timothy, and told him that learning the life of godliness was like an athlete going into training.
The odd thing about godliness is that the more we train, the less we have to consciously think about what we're doing.
It becomes second nature.
(text copyright 2012 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)