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“Great Power, Great Peace, Great Practice”Categories: Christian character, discipleship
In 1982, at the MLB Old Timer's Game, hall-of-famer Luke Appling hit a homerun at the age of 75! Check out the video of it here:
At 75 years old, Appling wasn't able to play the rest of the game the way that young players did. In the video, he just looks like an average man for that age bracket. But it's his swing that impresses. It's a simple demonstration of what's possible when something as seemingly simple as the swing of a baseball bat is practiced and then executed to near perfection.
Appling's swing isn't characterized by power, but smoothness. He doesn't throw out his back because he uses the right muscles and the right strength in just the right ways. It looks practically effortless because, as golfers and baseballers often say, "He lets the bat do the work." He just takes the tools that he has and uses them with such fluidity, simplicity, and easy confidence that it appears he was born knowing how to do it.
I think there's a good lesson there for us about Chrisitan behavior. In many ways, we want the Christian life to be so natural for us that it seems like we were born knowing how to do it. We want to get to a point where, even if we have to take a swing at sin in our own lives or the lives of others, we are well-prepared and well-practiced so that it doesn't fluster or rankle us. We want to be able to live powerfully for God, but in a way that we still maintain a peaceful state of mind and heart.
This must be at least one way of thinking about what Paul described as "the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding" (Phil. 4:7). It's the point where Christian living becomes a second nature to us; where it's so much a part of who we are that we find God is accomplishing powerful things through us without great fits of effort. We want to become like Jesus & his apostles, who radiated God's power in the everyday dealings of life. And if we can do that, then, like a homerun hitter in his mid-70's, I think we will find that we're capable of some surprisingly powerful things, even without great spurts of anxiety and effort and strength. Just by following God and habitually doing what's right, we'll be able to serve powerfully all the way through this life.
- Dan Lankford, minister