CPD (continual professional development) is the buzzword in many workplaces these days, reminding us that we never stop learning. It’s easy to take a test and then sit back, having passed, and proceed to forget all we have learned. Many jobs nowadays are aware of the need to keep on learning and provide regular opportunities for development.
Heb 10:23 reminds us that we must hold unswervingly to the faith we profess and this idea of navigating a ship, holding it on course, reminds us that we have a responsibility to develop in our faith, keeping true to God. Phil 2:12 tells us we must continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. So often, we think of faith as the ‘finished product,’ but just as all the recent wedding preparations were works in progress until the wedding day, so too we are works in progress. 1 Cor 3:1-2 reminds us of the need to mature from spiritual infancy to adulthood, being prepared to change and learn from every opportunity to grow which God sends our way (often disguised as trials!) 1 Cor 3:10-15 reminds us that the only lasting foundation for our lives is Christ, but we are to build with care. Often, bad habits can creep in and we are unaware of the problems, but 1 Tim 1:18-20 reminds us that our faith can be shipwrecked – which happens when we steer off course – if we do not align ourselves constantly with God’s Word.
SatNavs often chide us with the phrase ‘Turn around when possible’ when we have deviated from their routes. Ps 119:59-60 reminds us that we must turn back to God’s statutes when we have strayed. Many of the psalms are prayers asking God to search us and test us (see Ps 26:2, Ps 139:23-24, for example). We need more than a superficial glance; we need God to look deep within our hearts, even as an MOT on a car requires thorough testing. God’s purpose in testing us is restoration, but we need to be willing to hear the voice of the Spirit and return always to our first love.