SMASH! TWANG! I picked up my tennis racket off the sidewalk and moped toward the bus. Surprisingly, throwing my racket to the ground hadn’t broken it. I had lost another match. My mind raced. “How could I miss that backhand? It should’ve been so easy!” I reviewed every mistake over and over, thinking about how much better I should be by this point in the season.
Coach came and sat beside me and said, “You played well today!” I screamed in my head, paused, then muttered, “How could you say that? I made so many mistakes.”
“But look at how far you’ve come,” said Coach. “You only started playing a month ago!” “But I just keep making mistakes!” I fired back.
Looking at me intently, Coach said, “You can’t expect to be perfect right away—or ever. Getting better at tennis requires hard work over time.” My frustration began to subside as Coach’s words sunk in. The next thing I had to do was apologize to the team.
This experience reminds me of sanctification. Sanctification is the process of becoming more and more like Jesus—being set apart from sin for God’s purposes. Once we put our trust in Jesus, believing in His death and resurrection, we are sinless in God’s eyes and adopted into His family, but we still have to learn how to follow Him. In the same way, when I was starting out in tennis, I was immediately part of the team. I was equipped with a racket, and I started receiving lots of help from the coach and my team. But I still had to practice what I was learning.
When we put our trust in Jesus, we are immediately adopted into God’s family (Romans 8:16) and we are given “everything we need for living a godly life” (2 Peter 1:3). This includes receiving the Holy Spirit and other believers to help us (Acts 2:38, Galatians 6:2). However, we still need to practice obedience to what we learn through God’s Word. We will make mistakes along the way, but we don’t need to be discouraged. We can bring our sins and failures to Jesus, trusting in our loving Savior to forgive us and continue walking with us. • Dathan Tenter
• Take a look at Galatians 5:22-23. Can you think of some ways Jesus displayed these characteristics or fruits? Which one of these would you like to see more of in your own life?
• Consider spending some time in prayer, asking God to guide you and help you learn to listen to the Holy Spirit’s leading as you seek to obey Him. (Philippians 2:13)
Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Galatians 5:25 (NLT)