Talents. Family. Faith. All of these require work and hours of devotion if we ever want to develop any kind of skill. But when it comes to faith and matters of the Spirit, we can often become frustrated. We expect God to give us immediate results when we start putting forth just a little effort of our own. But, as Elder Quentin L. Cook showed in a recent Facebook post, that's simply not how faith and spiritual strength work:
Physical, mental, and spiritual development have much in common. Physical development is fairly easy to see.
A most cherished physical experience is a baby’s first steps. It is magnificent to behold. The precious look on the face—a combination of determination, joy, surprise, and accomplishment—is truly a seminal event.
We begin with baby steps and progress day by day, year by year, growing and developing to attain our ultimate physical statures.
When we watch a great athletic or musical performance, we often say that the person is very gifted, which is usually true. But the performance is based upon years of preparation and practice. One well-known writer, Malcolm Gladwell, has called this the 10,000-hour rule. Researchers have determined that this amount of practice is necessary in athletics, musical performance, academic proficiency, specialized work skills, medical or legal expertise, and so on.
Most people recognize that to obtain peak physical and mental performance, such preparation and practice are essential.
Unfortunately, in an increasingly secular world, less emphasis is placed on the amount of spiritual growth necessary to become more Christlike and establish the foundations that lead to enduring faith.
Just as repetition and consistent effort are required to gain physical or mental capacity, the same is true in spiritual matters.
I plead with you to make the sacrifices necessary to strengthen the foundations of your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.