Rerun of Daily Devotional October 29, 2018
This past Saturday, Shannon and I attended her uncle’s memorial service in Dallas. It was a wonderful, uplifting celebration of a good life devoted to God and the many patients he had seen throughout his years as a physician.
It was at this service that I heard a phrase I had never encountered before. One of the speakers referred to the members of the church as Black Belt Spiritual Warriors. This got me thinking.
In martial arts there is a colored belt ranking system that signifies the wearer’s progress in his/her discipline.
Originally, each student would start with a white belt and as they became proficient at the different levels, the color of the belt would progress through white, yellow, orange, green, blue, brown, red, and black.
The higher a student got, the darker the belt. This was because after the Second World War, Korea and Japan were very poor countries and in order to save money, the same belt was dyed a new color whenever the student reached the next level. Because of the dying process, it made sense that the belt would be darker.
If progress in my spiritual life was to be ranked by a colored belt system, I wonder what color God would dye my belt?
For those who follow Jesus Christ, we do not have the luxury of wearing a white belt for eternity because we believe each day, we are called to grow closer to God and a life that revolves around love. We are moving on to Christian perfection.
In explaining what John Wesley meant by Christian perfection, Bishop Will Willimon wrote: “Wesley took seriously Jesus’ invitation to ‘be ye therefore perfect as your Father which is in heaven is perfect’ (Matt 5:48). By ‘perfection,’ Wesley did not mean moral flawlessness or sinlessness. He meant perfection in the sense of maturity. Wesley believed we could become perfect in love in this life. If Jesus invites us to seek perfection, perfect love is possible. He didn’t mean we would be free from mistakes, temptation or failure.”
In other words, we grow in our relationship with God and one another.
So, as you deepen and widen your relationship with the One who set the stars in the sky and the fish in the sea, what colored belt would you be wearing?
The good news is that if we allow God, he will lead us to our next belt.
Solomon, the wisest of all people said, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
I pray you grow so much in your faith today that God changes the color of your belt.
Prayer: Dear Gracious Heavenly God, help me to grow in my faith. Give me wisdom to always follow your path. Fill my heart with compassion and love. Move my hands in such a way that I lessen someone’s heavy burden. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Now that I’ve thought about it, I can see that I have made progress on my spiritual walk. I think God would give me a yellow belt. I’ve got a long way to go.
I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.