I just don’t understand it. 20 players on two teams run around a field kicking a round ball. They run up and down the field. Then they run from side to side. The players work up a sweat, running with all their strength. 45 minutes later, the score is still 0-0. After this, they break for 15 minutes and go out to do the same thing all over again. Sometimes it seems like the game of soccer is a lot of work for nothing.

Sometimes we feel this way about the Christian life. We get up in the morning and pray, do our devotions, go to church on Sundays and Wednesdays, and we may even be involved in our church. But we still have a hard time dealing with the daily problems we face: trusting God to provide a job, a house, a mate, a solution to our health concerns, wisdom in our decision-making, and grace when responding to our enemies. We go through all the motions, but we feel like we aren’t becoming any more spiritual. The key to seeing our efforts at Christian growth pay off is found in these words from D.L. Moody: “I prayed for faith and thought that someday faith would come down and strike me like lightning. But faith did not seem to come. One day I read in the tenth chapter of Romans, ‘Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.’ I had up to this time closed my Bible and prayed for faith. I now opened my Bible and began to study, and faith has been growing ever since.”

It’s not until we search the Scriptures for specific answers to the problems we face that we are able to grow and mature. Otherwise, we’ll just be running aimlessly from one problem to the next, without ever scoring a “goal.” Are there some unanswered questions you’ve been praying about? Pray with an open Bible in front of you, and you will find answers. That’s the way to grow through the motions.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder