Monday, February 4, 2013

Adopt, Adapt, Adept

"As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,” Ephesians 4:14-15

I’d like to buy a vowel…
Isn’t it interesting what changing a single letter in a word can do?  In this case, a single vowel...  If we start with the word “adopt” and we change a single vowel in that word to an “a” or an “e” then we come up with two completely different words:  adapt, and adept.  I was having a bit of fun with this concept recently when I connected these three:  adopt, adapt and adept.  Three practically identical words, yet completely dissimilar in their respective meanings. However, it occurred to me what a powerful combination they make when their meanings are applied to our spiritual walk.  Allow me to illustrate:
(all definitions taken from
The second definition for adopt reads: “Take up or start to use or follow (an idea, method, or course of action).”  This is what each of us does when we make a decision to follow Jesus in our lives.  It isn’t simply we begin to believe in him.  We begin to take up…or start to use, or follow his example of living with our own.  Right?  Okay.

Then we have adapt: “Make (something) suitable for a new use or purpose; modify.  Become adjusted to new conditions.”  This is important.  This is what we must do as we live day to day in Christ Jesus, or we will never grow up in the faith.  We must adapt.  Romans 12:2 reads: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”  We change…or more clearly, we no longer do what we did before.  We do different things.  We adapt to the things Jesus would do.  And Romans 12:2 correctly commands us to start with our minds.  As our minds go, so then do our bodies.  If our minds do not adapt to the Christian life, our Christian living doesn’t have a chance.

And finally, we have adept: “Very skilled or proficient at something.  A person who is skilled or proficient at something.” There are plenty of things I would loved to be skilled at, but I’m not.  I would love to be fluent in Spanish, German, and oddly enough – Chinese.  But I don’t practice Spanish or German regularly, and I’ve never learned a single word of Chinese.  Not one.  No mystery as to why I am not adept at communicating in any of these languages, is there? 

I heard a man say not long ago: “Yes, I am a Christian…I’m just not a very good one.”  The key to becoming adept…in this case: very skilled or proficient at living for Jesus, living as Jesus lived…is to practice.  Keep adapting oneself.  Keep making those course corrections when we fail.  Keep on getting up when we fall, reading our Bible, figuring out what we did wrong, praying, and starting again.  This time, do things that align more with what Jesus would do. 

Diligently applied, this method has proven to bring great skill and proficiency in daily Christian living.  Do this and you will move from adopt and adapt to adept.

Holy Spirit of God, fill me again.  Create in me the will to do and be all that I am to do and be.  Open my eyes to patterns and habits which keep me trapped in places of failure and weakness.  Keep me growing, changing, and conforming to my Lord Jesus. Help me to grow up in all aspects.  In Jesus’ name I pray,   Amen.

Submitted By Kerry Patton

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