This is the day after our church softball team played its first game of the season. We are the newbies in the league so my expectations this first year out were not that we would dominate the season! I expected we would lose some games, especially early on. Well, we lost. What can I say but they just flat played better than we did. They also knew some of the nuances of the co-ed setup and the particulars of the playing field that we didn't yet know, but even so, we lost on the fundamentals of the game.
Life is like that. Sometimes we struggle with the basics. The fundamentals of any sport, trade or profession must be mastered if we are to perform well. A mechanic or a plumber must learn certain basic skills before he can go on to be a master at his trade. An artist must learn certain fundamental concepts and how to perform them before he can go on to explore the more innovative and complex aspects of his craft. There are certain fundamentals associated with business, accounting, food preparation, Medicine, Law, and any other discipline you want to name. Learning these basics is the key to success.
As Christians, we have certain fundamentals as well. The core elements of the faith cannot be forsaken or ignored without weakening the entire structure of Christianity. Some have mistakenly claimed that we can make room for those who, for instance, refuse to accept the doctrine of a literal Resurrection. However, the Apostle Paul demonstrates in his first epistle to the Corinthians (Chapter 15) that without this core element of our faith we have no faith left at all!
What fundamental disciplines are necessary for successful Christian living? I think we can name three: Bible Study, Prayer, and Corporate Worship. These three, if practiced regularly, will ultimately result in the practice of other Christian works such as evangelism, giving, showing mercy, and living a pure life.
How are you doing with the fundamentals? How about today? It's not too late to get into the Word, all by yourself, to let God speak to your heart. Now is as good a time as any to make sure God hears from you in prayer. If we fall short in softball, we still had the benefit of the exercise and enjoyed some fun with the team. Win or lose, we can say we had a good time and it was worth the effort to play. There is no real eternal value in a game of softball. Our faith, however, holds the promise of a life of joy for now and the promise of eternal rewards.
Every true Christian is a fundamentalist, in the sense that he believes and practices the core elements of his faith. Let's be continuous students of these great truths and continuous practitioners of these basic Christian disciplines.