Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Practice Makes Perfect

     My mother had a favorite saying.  If you want to be good at something then "practice makes perfect."  I think her mother drilled that into her thinking.  Wherever the phrase originated it does make good sense.  If we want to become good at something, we need to practice and apply what we have learned.
     One of the things I have learned from our youngest son who is a firefighter/EMT is that they never stop learning or rehearsing for the day a large fire or other accident happens.  He attended the Lexington Fire Academy in preparation for becoming a firefighter.  However, as he has learned, this is just the beginning of a life long process of learning and
practicing his skills.  I admire that because firefighters always have to be ready.  In the same way, we, as Christians, need to follow this same pattern if we want to be salt and light in this world.
     All too often we attend church, small group, or have private devotions but never put into practice God's Word.  Why is that?  If we want to retain a math fact, it requires practice; so why would we think that we do not have to practice what we are taught in the Bible through preaching and teaching?
     James, the Apostle who never minced words, says plainly how important it is to be a doer of God's Word.  In James 1:22-25 says:  "But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.  For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.  But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.  This is the key to a strong Christian life.  When we listen to a sermon, it has been my observation that if we would take notes it would help us learn better what was said.  Then, we can review, read the Word and meditate on what we learned.  The next step should be to put it into practice.  If we do not live out the Bible, what good has it done us to merely hear it?
     Jesus came into this world that we might have life in Him and life in abundance as a result of His sacrifice for us on the cross.  However, this new life requires us to "take up our cross and follow Him" (Matthew 16:24).  In this same verse, Jesus also said we would have to deny ourselves in the process.  This means we cannot be lazy in the Christian walk.  Like firefighters, we need to study, prepare and be ready all the time to take action.  We have to learn how to put into practice what we have learned so that when the enemy of our soul attacks, we are ready.  Being faithful in this will bring blessings as well as a good witness.
Our son Nathan and his fiancee Becca
     Think about the many people who watch us and listen to us each day.  They hear us talk about the Lord and what He means to us.  Yet, if they never see us put into practice those things which we say we believe, they will be led to question if we are really followers of Christ.  The Christian life is not meant to be passive but active.  As we are doers of the Word, we will bring glory to God as well as blessing to others.
     When we think about the admonition of the Apostle James, let us also remember the firefighters and EMT's who practice their skills in the event of emergency.  Would any of us want someone to come to our rescue if they had not been on a call for months and did not keep current with their skills?  I don't think so.  Likewise, if we do not put into practice all that we have learned, we will lose our saltiness in this world and will be good for nothing.  May God give us the ability to be doers of His Word so that men may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.  Selah!

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