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  • Evelyn Collins

Practice Matters

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s Will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Romans 12:2 (NIV)


Devotion:

Kids were playing with neighborhood friends as I walked past on my way to speech therapy. The private sessions were important because I had difficulty distinguishing and pronouncing certain sounds. This was another reason I seldom sang when around others. Besides being unable to carry a tune, I didn’t speak well. So, I was a quiet and shy little girl.


Whenever we had to stay inside, I often played our grandmother’s piano, which stood in the long, narrow hallway. I dragged the stool from under the mahogany piano and sat and banged on the ivory keys. I dreamed my fingers glided across the keys as I sang a beautiful melody, but it was a poor substitute for music lessons.

My dreams were not a reality.


Some of my friends took lessons from a neighbor that taught piano. Since they began lessons very young, they played gracefully.


I believed it was too late to start classes. How could I catch up? They will ridicule me for not being on their level? I allowed thoughts to rob me of my dream rather than learning and practicing the basic skills necessary to excel as a pianist.


A child must listen, study and practice the basic skills to learn to play the piano, sports or excel in school. You learn by repetition. The goal is to replicate something. There’s a phrase “Practice makes perfect?” The right learning practices are necessary for perfect skills. Hands-on application, coupled with study, most often creates excellence.


The Bible tells us to renew our minds, which is the act of becoming like Christ. Made in his image. It doesn’t just happen, but requires work on our part if we wish to excel. Studying and putting into practice what the Word of God says will renew our minds. For example, when we read, heed and memorize God’s Word, then the Holy Spirit brings those scriptures to our remembrance. It requires a desire to change our actions to reflect God’s Word. We learn to surrender to his way rather than ours.


Do we run ahead of God doing what we think, or do we sit in his presence and ask him what is important today? He will reveal his will to us in a variety of ways; such as by bringing it to our minds. He may speak through scripture, song, or a friend.


While walking with the Lord, he urges us to change because how we use our time matters? When we fellowship with the Lord, he encourages us to change our ways, and the world becomes a better place. Lifestyle changes require sacrifice and commitment.


Spiritual disciplines in our lives, like reading the Bible and praying, deepen our relationships with God. We often make decisions and start our day without reading his Word or praying, then we run into problems. We turn to God as our last resort.


He desires we pray about everything before we decide. We plead for his mercy and trust in God as we approach our Lord in prayer because prayer has the power to transform the world.


Developing skills is a lifelong endeavor that applies to different areas of life, but it’s essential for living a Christ-like life. It’s never too late to learn new skills.


Prayer:

Lord, help us discern your will. Life’s precious, so we want to live it to the fullest. Open our eyes, awaken our souls to see this world through your eyes. May our dreams align with your Word and purpose so we accomplish your will on earth. Amen.


Your turn:

What discipline would deepen your relationship with the Lord?


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