Nothing we do well comes without practice unless it is an involuntary action, like breathing or blinking. When was the last time you thought, today I’m going to blink as I’ve never blinked before! Every blink I blink will be perfectly synchronized between both eyelids, and by the time I lay my head on the pillow tonight, I will have completed X number of perfect blinks, assuring me of a superb daily blink record!
That train of thought is absurd, but if something happened—an injury to the eye causing excessive swelling or infection that hindered the ability to blink—you would probably think much more about blinking and the function of your eyes. Blinking would require a conscious effort on your part, and there probably would be some pain and discomfort involved until the swelling and infection subsided.
Andrea Bocelli, the renowned Italian opera singer, says that he trains like an athlete before touring, singing daily and making sure to get enough rest. Olympic athletes don’t bring home gold medals without giving themselves to daily, rigorous physical training. A concert pianist wouldn’t think of performing on stage without spending hours in practice until he was confident of a flawless performance. They all know that practice makes perfect.
In Matthew 5:48 (NLT), we read, but you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. The Greek word for perfect in this verse means of full age, complete in all its parts, full-grown, mature, especially in the completeness of Christian character. On this side of heaven, none of us will reach that level of perfection and maturity, but the Father wants us to practice His ways of living as passionately as an Olympian in training. To become a champion of faith in God and hear Him say, well done, good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of your Master (Matthew 25:21 NASB) will be a far greater reward than a gold medal!
So what do we practice? Simply put, we practice being like Jesus and the heroes of faith. The Apostle Paul said, “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9). Timothy tells us to be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity (1 Timothy 4:12 NLT). He continues, give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress (verse 15).
It is a tall order to fill, but it is completely obtainable through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us. Christ in me, the hope of glory! (Colossians 1:27 NLT). Yes, practice, with the help of the Holy Spirit, can bring out more of the perfect Christ in us.
© 2021, Chris Werre