It Takes Practice
The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you (Philippians 4:9).
I'm a bad golfer. I like to play, but I never score well. Years ago, when I was beyond bad (I've improved a ton to get to bad), I was playing with my boss at Nalco. Greg was a very good golfer. At hole 12, I humbled myself and asked him for some advice for my game. He told me to sell my clubs. How rude ... but understandable.
As anyone who plays golf knows, the secret to getting good is that dirty little eight letter word P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E. You will never consistently hit the ball on the course unless you hit tons of balls on the driving range. Practice is essential to playing good golf.
Practice is also essential to the Christian life. Paul told the Christians in Philippi that they needed to take what he had taught them and modeled for them ... and put it into practice in their daily lives. You see, it is not enough to know the truth. You must start applying the truth to your life in order to receive any benefit from the truth.
Debbie and I have been teaching and counseling couples in marriage for many years. We know what the Bible says about making marriage survive and thrive. We can give you chapter and verse on loving leadership, godly submission, conflict resolution, sexual intimacy, and the like. And you know what? Our own marriage is not benefitted one iota if we fail to put these truths into practice.
A few years ago, we were driving to Rogers, Arkansas, to lead a marriage conference there. Rogers is about a five hour drive from our home in Texarkana, Texas. Debbie was driving, and I was napping, and we somehow ended up in Oklahoma. Now, I'm not great with directions, but I knew something was seriously wrong. Debbie claimed that our wrong turn was my fault since - get this - I was sitting in the navigator's chair. I tried to explain that I was sleeping, but to no avail. I was mad, and she was mad, and it was "game on." We didn't speak to one another for hours ... and we were driving to lead a marriage conference! (#Hypocrites!)
Well, the good news is we were both convicted, apologized for getting mad, forgave each other, and made up that night, a day before the conference started. (#Nolongerhypocrites!)
What is the point? Jesus said, "If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them" (John 13:17). Blessing is not in the knowing of God's commands, it is in the doing of God's commands, applying and practicing His Word in daily life.
HOW ABOUT YOU?
Are you putting God's Word into practice in your life? You know to forgive those who hurt you, but are you doing it? You know to seek first the kingdom of God in your life, but are you doing it first thing in the morning? You know the Lord loves a cheerful giver, but are you cheerfully giving? You know the Lord wants you to walk by faith and not by sight, but are you looking around instead of looking up?
If you will put God's Word into practice in your life, you will see the blessings flow ... and "the God of peace shall be with you."