I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
I’ve played the flute for over 30 years. When I reflect on what has essentially made me a musician today, I would attribute it to something that applies to all progress in life, including spiritual growth – the profound desire for more than what is.
Like the topic of God, music has always been a love attraction in my life. It would never have been enough for me to simply listen to music. To limit my involvement to reading about music would not have sufficed either. Getting to know other musicians and hearing them perform, far from satisfying my attraction, always inflamed my heart with an even greater desire to do what they do. I wanted nothing short of being at-one with this beautiful art. And so I picked up a flute and starting learning the basic mechanics of making music.
It only takes a year or so to develop enough proficiency on an instrument to play music at a novice level. But that was certainly not enough to satisfy the desire that drove my passions. As a result, I spent more and more time perfecting this craft.
But the more I progressed as a musician, the more aware I also became of the technical challenges that were obstacles to the freedom I sought. I grew in greater sensitivity to all the imperfections in my tone, rhythm, phrasing and articulation. The more free I desired to be, the more I became aware of the many impediments to that freedom.
I mention all this because the pursuit of freedom is certainly not limited to music-making. We seek it in all things. And the more precisely we envision that freedom, the more aware we become of the obstacles to that state that exist within us.
A long obedience to the demands of art has allowed me today to enjoy a wonderful degree of freedom in music-making. Looking back, I see how the simple desire for more-than-what-is has always been the main catalyst for growth. And I suspect that similar dynamics apply to my relationship with God.
We should not be surprised that the more we seek spiritual truth, the more precisely we will encounter obstacles to what we seek.
But we can also anticipate that the desire-for-more that God places in our hearts will be the likely means by which all our obstacles to freedom will be overcome.
Rob Des Cotes is a pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Vancouver. He also directs the Imago Dei network (www.imagodeicommunity.ca).