2001-03-01 - Practice
2 Tim 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. (NAS)
I have sung with choirs for years. Touring choirs, church choirs, hymn sings, high school, madrigals and in the car just because I love to sing. People on the highways must see me and say, "There he goes again, that singing nut." My directors always wanted us to make it look easy, and to enjoy it - not just look like we're enjoying it. How do you get 20 people to make all the entrances correctly and filling those chords just so, song after song? Practice. Hour upon hour of working with tapes and a piano and the other members of the group, practicing rhythms and notes, word by word and phrase by phrase.
It is the same with almost everything in our lives. To get better at baseball or any sport, typing or any task or job, it takes practice. I go to seminars and classes to improve my skills at my profession - at least twice a year I go and extend my skills. The classes involve introduction to new tools and concepts. But they will only become permanently rooted in my mind if I ... practice.
Phil 2:12-13 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (NAS)
Our christian life is no different. We listen to Bible teaching, and listen to and sing praise songs and hymns as part of our practice of worship. We incorporate the lessons into our lives and we practice these principles, working them out in our lives. And just like the time I spent practicing with the choir, it was not a drudge or a burden at all. Those times are exciting and fun. Even when it takes a while to beat out a rhythm and finally get it right, it is a challenge instead or a chore. Why do we want to do things other people around us think are a crazy waste of time? Because we know the Lord Jesus Christ personally - not from far away - but close up and becoming more personal all the time. And we love Him. Not because of anything that we have done, but because He loved us first and gave Himself as a sacrifice in our place - to pay a debt we could never pay, and set us free.
1 John 4:19 We love, because He first loved us. (NAS)
Lord Jesus - You give us a joy in the journey and show us patience when we stumble and stray from the path You have set out for us. You welcome us back with open arms each time, brushing us off and letting us know You care. Help us to practice our faith, so that we may learn more of the deep and awesome love You have for us and for the world around us. Teach us to be hands and feet for you in prayer and giving and working in our communities and homes for You. Amen.
Grace & Peace,