Musicians are always seeking to rise above the technicalities of their instruments, the notes on the staff, and their skill with both. To achieve this, they spend long hours practicing scales until their fingers know by heart exactly where to reach to achieve the note on the page. They repeat, over and over the same few bars in a composition in order to imprint on their memories exactly how it should go.
As a closet musician myself, the hours spent trying to achieve what sometimes seems like the unachievable can be frustrating and sometimes make me question whether I should just sell my violin and stick to my day job but, every once in a while, my fingers fall exactly into place. The strokes of my bow come with just the right pressure and speed to produce the sound I’ve been chasing and the music begins to soar through the room and through my soul. These brief (and I’m telling you they are really brief and rare) moments are what make the hours of struggle and frustration worth it.
My goal, and usually the goal of any dedicated musician is to get to that place where it’s not the musician’s skill that is playing but his spirit. We know the notes, we know the proper technique, and we anticipate each new phrase. It’s not only our minds that have learned these things but our spirit, which has been sitting in the back row of the auditorium all this time just waiting to take a crack at it.
Our walk with Jesus is very similar to the walk of a musician. As Christians, we pour over God’s word for hours, seeking to imprint His words in our minds. It is in reading the Bible and praying that we learn who Jesus is and what he’s done for us. It’s also in reading the Bible that we learn how to follow Him. Over time our understanding and skill grows. With dedication, we become able to recall passages of Scripture that fit the conversations and situations in which we find ourselves. But a funny thing happened while we were studying, the Holy Spirit begins to infuse us with not only the knowledge by wrote of the Bible but the spirit of those words. We begin to clearly see and feel their meaning and are convicted of their truth. This conviction brings with it a sense of transcendence which is beyond the knowledge and beyond the memory verses we gather.
It is when all the reading is done, all the verses memorized, that we can experience in ourselves the weight and wonder of His word in our lives. It is His word that, when carefully studied, helps us to know his will, discern the good and the evil, reach out with compassion to a hurting world and most importantly, know God.
To be a good musician you must discipline yourself to learn your instrument and always strive to rise above its’ mere technicalities. To be a good Christian is no different. It’s our job to discipline ourselves to learn God’s word so that we can transcend the small black letters on the page and live the true Spirit of their meaning. This is the path that leads to worshiping Him in Spirit and in Truth.