“Do not neglect the gift that is in you.” 1Ti 4:14 NKJV
The only way to keep improving is to keep practicing. Nancy Dornan says, “The longest distance between two points is a shortcut.” That’s really true. If you desire to grow in a particular area, figure out what it will really take, including the price, then determine to pay it. David didn’t suddenly discover his talent as a harpist when he arrived at King Saul’s palace. He developed it through years of practice on lonely hillsides while tending his father’s sheep. Paul instructed Timothy: “Till I come, give attention to reading…Do not neglect the gift that is in you…Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all” (vv. 13-15 NKJV). When you’re through growing—you’re through. Progress, success, and growth don’t happen by osmosis, they demand discipline. There is no easy way to become a disciplined person. The reason last year’s winner was this year’s runner-up is because one was willing to go the extra mile when it came to practice and discipline, and the other wasn’t. Anyone who does what he or she must do only when they’re in the mood or when it’s convenient will get left behind. Improvement comes through discipline. A disciplined person doesn’t make excuses or accept excuses; they eliminate excuses. As French classical writer François de La Rochefoucauld said, “Almost all our faults are more pardonable than the methods we think up to hide them.” If you have several reasons why you can’t be disciplined, realize they’re just a bunch of excuses—all of which need to be challenged if you want to succeed in what God has called you to do.