When I was growing up we were told, “Practice makes perfect.” It wasn’t until later when my band director then my preaching professor told me, “Practice makes permanent. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” So what did I learn from that? Don’t be sloppy in my practice unless I want to be permanently sloppy in my performance. Don’t limit yourself by how or what you practice. Make sure, as the great golfer Ben Hogan said, practice always leads to improvement.
Now, take that wisdom and apply it to your general approach to things instead of learning a specific skill. Are you well practiced at being patient? Do you have faith and grace enough to trust God to work everything together for your good? Do you have enough to trust others and be a part of a process, be a part of a conversation, to improve things?
Or, are you well practiced at being paranoid? Jumping to conclusions? Prejudging and then planting seeds of betrayal and bias into any process or conversation of which you are a part?
Unfortunately, I’ve practiced both in my lifetime but I am asking God for both me and you to stand ready from this moment forward to, as the New King James version of Luke 22: 19 puts it, “By your patience, possess your souls.” Or, as the NIV reads, “Stand firm and you will win life.” Yes, let’s be well practiced in the things that lead us to share in Christ’s victory!