Some people say, “Practice makes perfect!”
It makes me wonder: What happens when you practice doing something the wrong way? Will you really improve or simply get better at doing it wrong? I suppose that’s why Vince Lombardi said, “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.”
Jesus had something to say about perfection; he told us to "Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Or, was he inviting us to live life as God intended it to be lived: full and complete, loving God with our whole being, loving our neighbors as we love ourselves, allowing the Holy Spirit to give us the mind of Christ, enabling us to walk like Christ walked?
If the later is what Jesus meant, I need a little more practice!
In the Church we call spiritual practice, Christian Discipleship. I prefer to think of spiritual practice as art. It sounds more fun and appealing to think of the Christian life as an art form we can get better at with practice.
Beethoven once said, “Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets; art deserves that, for it and knowledge can raise man to the Divine.” If we want to perfect the art of our lives we may need to force our way into the secrets of God’s kingdom; the kingdom deserves our exploration! Spending time with Jesus, watching how he lived and loved others, creating space in our hearts and our minds and our days for his Holy Spirit to indwell and inspire us, will raise us closer to God’s heart.
When it comes to life, Jesus is the master artist; he knows better than anyone else the secrets of the kingdom of God and what it means to be truly human. Perhaps we need to ask him to show us how to practice life more perfectly.
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Larry Stoess is an author, public speaker, and urban church planter. He loves telling stories about how dreaming with God will empower people to make old and broken things new again. Larry and a band of friends founded the Church of the Promise in Louisville's Portland neighborhood; The Table, a pay-what-you-can community café; and Promise Housing Plus, a non-profit construction company. He has written about their experience of dreaming with God in his new book: Think Red.