There is a common saying in our culture when we point to something which requires more definition and the saying is "the devil is in the details". I have heard this idiom so many times throughout my life and never paid much attention to it or the origin. However, it is a co-opted phrase, as the original saying was, "God is in the detail" (no "s"). Is this true? Does God care about the detail?
Recently, I have been reminding myself of the need to pay more attention to the basics. As a business owner and coach, I constantly preach the axiom "good habits are just as easy to create as bad ones". As coach, I require our players to go through the same mundane footwork, tackling and blocking drills that we began instilling when they were 12 years old. As a business owner, I am reminded of the need to "inspect what I am expecting" and to insure the metrics which are being measured are incorporated into our plans.
Why? Because details matter.
God is constantly calling on us throughout the New and Old Testaments to focus on the details of his word. I think John 1:1 sums it up best "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Yes, the whole dang book is one big attention to detail. It is not some rambling memoir. I have a hard enough time writing 1,000 word blog with the specificity of a single Proverb! Throughout the bible, God displays for us in intimate detail how we should conduct our lives and how to reach the promises he holds out for each of us. We worship and serve a God of detail and the magnificence of the universe is a testament to this fact.
I recently read a book called Outliers by Malcom Gladwell where he makes the argument that those who are successful at any endeavor are not the ones with God given talents but instead are those who take their talent and then outwork others. Throughout the publication, Gladwell repeatedly mentions the "10,000-Hour Rule", claiming that the key to achieving world-class expertise in any skill, is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing the correct way, for a total of around 10,000 hours! I am sure there are dissenting opinions; however, what I do know from my own experience is practice and commitment to excellence coupled with a hard work ethic will drive you far past someone with simply God given talent.
I constantly remind myself and my players that details matter and that hard work pays off. We must practice the basics over and over until they are routine, until we can do them by muscle memory. Likewise, God calls us to be spiritual warriors and tells us the only way to find him is through the continual practice as expressed in the detail of his word. So, the next time someone tells you that the "Devil" is in the details.. let them know that God is much more involved and has even written a best seller on the topic!