I’ve written before about becoming a “Professional Christian.” To reiterate, most people think that a “professional” refers to someone who is remote, and only committed to something—a business, a movement, a faith—because of what they can get out of it, particularly monetarily speaking.
A lot of folks think that a professional is defined only by the payoff.
However, as great writers and thinkers like Seth Godin and Stephen Pressfield point out, a true professional isn’t defined by the payoff she might get; rather a professional is defined by their commitment to their craft.
A professional isn’t governed by their feelings; they show up, day after day, to do the work that they’ve been called to do. They stay in it when things get difficult, and they don’t deviate until the job is done, the book is produced, the art is finished.
A professional is faithful.
Doesn’t that sound like a disciple?
As part of my job, I spend time with a variety of different people. I’ve recently been hanging out with a nineteen year old guy who is pretty talented at a variety of different things—music, programming, sports, etc.—but who is having a difficult time focusing his efforts.
His life lacks a little momentum.
We started going through (of all things) Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I told him, “We’ll mutually agree on reading chapters. If you show up and you haven’t done the reading, you have to buy me lunch. Otherwise, I’ll pay.”
(So far, he’s doing fine.)
Two weeks in, however, he set aside his book and told me, “Hey, I need to talk to you; I’m kind of struggling spiritually… I’m just not ‘feeling it.'”
We talked about all of the things that could be behind this situation, but essentially it boiled down to the fact that he simply wasn’t “showing up.”
His spirituality was governed by how he felt, rather than his commitment to putting himself in front of God (and to putting God in front of himself) frequently and consistently enough to allow God to grow and mature his faith.
This, my friends, is what “amateur spirituality” looks like.
It’s governed by emotionalism, by whether or not we “feel like” praying, worshiping, meditating, serving, etc., etc.
The long-term results are a shallow, lukewarm faith, and ultimately apathy.
Rather, I think we need to learn to cultivate a spirituality that shows up, day after day to do our part in allowing God to form His Spirit in us. It’s not easy; it’s not automatic; it’s not quick.
But professionals don’t care about any of those things.
Professionals are committed to the long-term “win”.
They’re committed to the project.
To the art.
To the vision.
Here’s the thing: God wants you to grow. He intends for you to become Christ-like.
This is no far-fetched, strange notion; it’s actually the entire point of our existence. IF we take seriously the fact that God created us as icons—images—of Himself (Genesis 1v27); if Jesus really meant that we are supposed to “greater things” than he did (John 14v12); if we really are meant to grow up into the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 3v19), then we have to take seriously the idea that we have work to do (even as God does His work in us).
So why not commit to it, as a professional?
How can you become more “professional” in your spiritual life? In what ways do you need to simply start showing up, day-in and day-out?