During the past years I’ve taken thousands of photos of people, places, events, scenery, animals and flowers. To be honest, I’ve used the Auto setting most of the time rather than study the manual that came with my D5000 Nikon camera and learn about the combinations of aperture, light, and speed available with the camera.
I’ve managed to capture a few shots that have garnered scores of “likes” on Facebook, but recently, while looking through libraries of my photos, I saw how my contentment with an automatic setting had produced mediocre photos. Taking time to set up a shot, or to tweak the aperture, speed, or lighting could have transformed many OK photos into dramatic photos.
Now, I can keep using the Auto setting for all my photography, or … I can study the manual, view tutorials on the Web, master Photoshop and meet with other photographers to improve my photography skills. If I keep using the no-thinking-involved Auto setting, I’ll get decent photos and even get a few “likes.” If,however, I choose to spend time studying and implementing what I learn about photography, my files will probably include some dramatic photos. The number of great photos that I produce in the future will be directly related to the amount of time I’m willing to spend mastering photography. It all comes down to one question. “How important is photography to me?” The decision is mine. It’s a personal choice.
In our spiritual journey, most of us tend to go through life on the point and shoot automatic setting. We know the basics of being a Christian: I’m a sinner—Christ died for me—I accept God’s forgiveness—I will try to love my neighbor— and I should help the poor and needy.
With these basics in place, we receive many “likes” from friends and associates. Our spiritual life, though, can be so much more. We can have an OK walk with God, or we can experience some Wow! moments in the journey. Excellence in spiritual development, however, will never be found on an automatic setting. It requires:
Studying God’s Manual—the Bible
Finding a correct view of sin in the light of God’s word
Examining the depth of our commitment to obey God
Focusing on God when we worship
Taking time for unhurried prayer
Making the effort to adjust attitude settings
Meeting with others who are striving for spiritual excellence.
It all comes down to one question. “How important is spiritual development to you?” It is your choice. It is a personal choice.
Martha Hawn VanCise©2015 www.signpostsonhightrails.com