I played basketball in high school.
As hard as it is to belive, I was once an athlete. Sort of. I was tall, but made up for it by being slow. I wasn’t a smart athlete, nor was I particularly aggressive. So, before I even had packed my shoes, I already had two strikes against me.
The longer I played, the more comfortable I became in my role on the floor. And the more comfortable I became, the better I got at playing my position. The better I got, the more cocky I became. Now, the instant I became cocky, I seemed to lose all sense of coordination, skill, or training. I suddenly played like a beginner again.
My coach- a tall, agressive, smart, athletic man- was constantly pushing me to improve. And so, to give me the best chance at success, he coached the fundamentals. The easy stuff, the stuff every player had to do without thinking to be able to play the game. For me, the fundamentals included moving without the ball; footwork; catching and passing; keeping the ball above my head; spreading me feet and moving my feet on defense; rebounding. Lots of rebounding. There were no shortcuts.
As I compartmentalized my responsibilities on the floor, and as I focused on my fundamentals, I improved. Over time, I became a fair player when I focused on my role. I love the game, and loved playing.
Now, many years and quite a few pounds later, I am reminded that there are fundamentals to life. Things that, with proper training, practice, and focus, will help us achieve our goals. And different areas of life can require a different set of fundamentals. Relationships, work ethic, parenting, personal money management, and a plethora of other areas require us to focus, to train, to master the basics of each area. You can never forsake those fundamentals and continue to grow, to excel, to achieve. There are no shortcuts.
The same is true for our spiritual lives. There are fundamental excercises that we need to practice regularly in order to achieve God’s best for our lives. Daily quiet time in the Word; praying without ceasing; serving people; all are necessary to developing the closest relationship with the Father possible. There are no shortcuts.
What are your spiritual fundamentals? How often do you practice?