Written by Shawn Naylor
There’s an African proverb that says, “You don’t just feed a chicken on the day of the market.” If you want to sell that chicken, you’re going to have to feed it long before you sell it. Here’s an example. At the local skate park I frequent, there are skaters with all kinds of skill levels. One young man often attempts tricks that are above his current ability. He sees tricks I do and tries to recreate them.
The problem is, this young man was unwilling to learn the basic tricks and consistently perform them. He simply got frustrated when he couldn’t complete more advanced tricks. That isn’t how I learned. I had to complete a trick consistently before reaching the next step. Even though there doesn’t seem to be glory in the basics, consistency is what makes great people great. The basics are essential to the spectacular.
This can apply to more than just skating. I am beyond fortunate to have parents who were persistent in their pursuit of Christ. Yes, everything was not perfect, but I learned many things as a result of their principle of pursuit and consistency. James 1:4 says, “And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Jesus demonstrated this principle in His ministry. He was challenged by others throughout His time on earth, and it was consistency in all the areas of His life that confounded everyone who came against Him.
Jesus is the bedrock of consistency. His belief in who God was, His words, and actions all lined up.
Christ’s death and resurrection conquered the power of death. This gives us a purpose for being consistent in our faith. “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:56-58).
Be consistent in what you do in Christ—this has an eternal impact! My parents took me to church at least four times a week. I was surrounded by other believers, Scripture, worship, and church spaces. I was being formed in consistency.
I didn’t know then, but I understand now that every little bit of what we did in the church paid dividends later. When I wrote my ordination exams I went back to all of the Bible stories I was told when I was young—back to the felt cut-outs from Sunday school lessons. (Those of you who teach Sunday school to young children, you have an incredible impact on that generation and the generations to come!)
Okay, Shawn, that’s a nice principle, but how does it work for me? Well, simply put, there are going to be times of opportunity for your faith to triumph over obstacles. It is the day-in, day-out working through of your faith, reading Scripture, and praying that prepare you to seize those opportunities and respond in faith.
Like you, I have had struggles, and my friends have seen those struggles. They’ve also been witnesses to how I respond to those obstacles. They can hear my theory, but they are affected by my interactions during difficulties.
So, here are my challenges to you. You can choose one or build your own challenge:
- Report weekly to a trusted person about your faith walk
- Write out a prayer and repeat it daily
- Memorize and carry out five Bible verses for living the Christian life
- Participate in a ministry, outreach, or community service without anyone else but God knowing that you’re involved.
These are things that will build your faith, but they require consistency to see results.