No matter what you desire to do, some element of practice is required for the end result to be excellent. No one is born with any ability that is fully developed. Most skills are developed slowly and incrementally.
As you follow God and He prepares you to pursue His purpose for your life, you may be discouraged at how slowly you progress. But stick with it. True gifts, skills, and talents are worth developing to the point of mastery. When you have mastered something, you no longer have to struggle at it. You may work at it, but the sense of struggle is gone.
There’s an old saying: “If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well.” That’s the goal in the development of your God-given talents. The Creator did not give you gifts to have you squander them, ignore them, or dabble at them. He intends for you to develop them to the highest levels possible.
I strongly encourage you to make practicing your gifts and talents an act of praise to God. You may never have thought about it that way. But I have no doubt that you will gain much if you begin your practice times with prayer. Simply tell God, “I exalt You, Lord, and I thank You for the gift You have given to me. I know You are the Giver of my talent, and I give You this session of practice as my gift to You today.”
A young college-age musician was encouraged to think this way, and she later said, “I sat down to practice the clarinet, and I made a conscious decision to see that half hour as an offering of praise to God. I can only begin to tell you what happened. I played better in those 30 minutes than I ever had before. The more I saw myself as playing for God—like a private mini-concert just for Him—the more I found myself wanting to play with perfection and also with sensitivity. I thoroughly enjoyed my practice time and came away feeling absolutely great. I also felt inside me a greater excitement about playing the clarinet than I had ever felt before. It was an amazing time.”
What about practicing your skill? Something wonderful will happen in you when you make it an act of praise to God as well.
While “practice” is another way of saying “work,” the development of your gift can be a source of immense joy for you. Few things bring greater satisfaction than knowing that you have tackled a difficult skill and mastered it. Along the way, you will find these concepts coming into play as you develop your gifts:
- Diligence. Practice must be regular and frequent. That takes diligence.
- Discipline. Practice doesn’t happen by accident. You must plan for it and set apart time for it. You must motivate yourself to actually do it.
- Perseverance. There will be days when you will be discouraged by your lack of progress. You must persevere.
- Consistency. Practice is most effective when it is focused and scheduled as a regular part of your daily or weekly routine.
Adapted from "How to Reach Your Full Potential for God" by Dr. Charles Stanley.