I love a good Mario Kart race! I’m not good at it, but it’s fun to race my character through hairpin turns, avoid the obstacles that try to knock me off course, and honestly – just stay on the track!
When our (now adult) kids were at home, they would spend hours playing video games – and unlock all the game levels that were too hard for me. So even though I really only knew how to navigate the easy races, I could go visit (and attempt to play) levels that were way too hard for me, levels that I would never be able to master without playing hours and hours of video games – time which I just wasn’t willing to invest.
The result? I was in WAY over my head because I hadn’t developed the gaming skills required to face the challenges of the new level.
I was thinking today about some of the people in my life that demonstrate spiritual maturity. I want what they have – patience, compassion, lives of service without expecting anything in return, generous with their time, talents and treasures. I want to be more like that! That kind of maturity takes an intentional, disciplined investment – time in prayer, studying God’s word, actually doing what the bible says in my life.
And just like my video game experience, I don’t always put in the time required to develop an intimate, growing relationship with Jesus. The result? I sometimes find myself in WAY over my head because I haven’t developed the spiritual skills and maturity required to navigate the challenges of life.
Patience and compassion don’t come because we want them, they become part of our character as we choose to pursue them – seeking God’s way in difficult situations and asking for His power to change our hearts and minds as we try to demonstrate them in one situation at a time. Lives of service and humility come from understanding God’s amazing grace and our own sin, and choosing to lay down our lives in submission to Him every moment of every day.
There is no magic wand, and no shortcut to the next level without mastering the one we’re already on first. It’s through the daily pursuit of God – time intentionally spent in the bible and time with God in prayer, that we become mature – and learn how to navigate through life’s difficult turns, avoid the obstacles that try to knock us off course, and stay on track!