“We are repeatedly what we do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
Bruce Lee has been quoted often throughout the years for saying, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” That, in many ways, is a rehashing of Aristotle’s opening quote today. We are repeatedly what we do. Nothing is happenstance. It all comes down to practice and practice making perfect.
We cannot expect to become deeply spiritual if we do not live the faith to the fullest. There is nothing accidental about our faith. Our response to God must be intentional. And, in order to be the best that we can be, we must work at it over and over again.
Going to the hospital to visit someone once does not a faithful person make. Visiting someone shut in once does not mean anything. Doing anything that our faith requires of us just one time is not going to help us out. All those one times can be a good start; however, we need to perfect the practice of the faith as much as possible.
When we decide that we are going to make visiting the sick and shut in our mission and ministry, it may take many, hundreds, or thousands of visits with people before we get what it is all about. The first time out, we are often very much into ourselves. I have seen people go to visit someone at hospitals, nursing homes, or prisons and, when they came back, could not answer the simple question, “How were they?” because the person was more concerned with himself or herself than the person being visited.
However, when we do something for a long time, things begin to click. We forget about ourselves and focus more on the other. In visiting, that would be the other person. In praying, that would be God.
Yes, it is true. Praying takes a lot of time and practice as well. When we are first learning how to pray, we try to get the words down pat. As we pray our words, we bombard God with our petitions. We are very verbal with God but we do not give God a chance to speak to us. Our prayer is one-sided conversation. True prayer, though, is communication with God. It involves talking as well as listening.
As holy as we think we may be, there is always room for improvement. We need to give God 100% each and every day, each and every moment, of our lives.
FAITH ACTION: Have you let some parts of your faith life go unpracticed? Get back into the swing of things.