[CF Devotionals] 2012-09-25 - Practicing the Piano

Throughout the last four decades, I have been a substitute pianist and occasionally an interim music director, in several churches. Because I could be called on at the "last minute," I have remained perpetually ready to fill in for the regular pianists/directors. In order to be ready, I must be diligent about my practicing, so I will always be prepared when someone calls upon me. Diligence for readiness.

Likewise we need to be diligently prepared in our spiritual walk. As Ephesians 6:10-18 teaches us, to face temptation or other difficulties that we all will encounter, we need to have our tools always at the ready:

- The word of the Gospel of Christ, which we should study daily in our homes, as well as at our local church with fellow believers.

- Faith - which is shored up by prayer, Bible study and the testimony of other Christ-followers - and along with faith goes the object of that faith -the accompanying righteousness provided by Christ's sacrifice.

- Encouragement for and from our fellow believers. I can't stress this enough. As someone has said, Christians are not supposed to be "Lone Rangers"©. Throughout the Bible, we see that God's word teaches us the value and necessity of turning to believing friends, including Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (HCSB):

9 Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. 10 For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.

Christ Himself had a small core group of friends who were there during his most painful times. And if the Lord Jesus needs friends, how much more do we. God gave us the Christian family (both our local church and the universal church at large) for a reason - to encourage each other, support each other and inspire each other. Well-meaning Christians tell others to "just pray and you don't need to talk to anyone but God," but that's really unBiblical. Not only does God gift certain people in the area of counseling, but He intends all of us to share in the gift of the fellowship of believers.

- Prayers of all kinds, from private praise and supplications in our own homes, to prayers during church services, to "bullet prayers" that can be shot toward God at any time, with eyes open and in any posture. God wants to hear from us - about everything, not just the "Big things."

In all these areas, we would do well to attend to these things daily, so we will be diligently prepared in our Christian walk.