As Anton Chekhov once said, “knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.” What is the definition of practice? A simple Google search will define it as either “the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method as opposed to theories about such application or use” or the “repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it.” When one hears the word practice they may think of a team assembling to rehearse a synchronized activity, whether related to sports or a choir. One may also think of someone telling them, “repetition, repetition, repetition.”
Another interesting note to make about the word practice is that some people point out the word “ACT” in the word as illustrated here: prACTice. The word to “act” is a verb. This does not necessarily imply one must pretend, like in a play, but it requires a person to fulfill a role by putting their actions in motion. What implication does that have? One must act out and execute a specific skill in order to enhance the probability that it will be something that either comes naturally to mitigate error, or the goal of achieving the desired outcome is completed. Due to human error it is impossible to become perfect in any area, because everyone is prone to mistake and err. The key lies in CHOOSING to act in upon those areas where those practical methods enable growth. This fantastic principle applies in all areas of life.
Many can attest that “practice makes perfect,” so the importance is known when one is trying to perfect a skill, for example, making a 3-point shot on the court each time, or play Johann Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” without missing a beat or key on the piano. Practical acting and choosing to achieve the desired goal, through the term coined as practice, one is able to improve and grow closer and closer to that smile and feat of accomplishment. Practically speaking, it is essential to do this by dropping the ego, competitive spirit, and being honest from within. When one puts themselves down or puffs up their ego, their clear vision can become clouded and bad choices can be made, which could lead to undesired outcomes. This must always be done in balance to attain the best results.
Does this apply spiritually? Absolutely. The Heavenly Father wants everyone to grow in His righteous likeness. What does the Bible say about practice in the spiritual sense? One example is stated in Philippians 4:9 –
The things that you have learned and received and heard and seen by me, DO these things, and The God of peace shall be with you.
For brevity’s sake, a list of verses will not be displayed because honestly how many verses tell everyone to “DO” good and righteous things and practice righteousness from within? – Too many to count. There are many attributes stated in the Bible over-and-over to work towards and practice, but if summed up, what would they be? Fortunately, Yeshua summed it up in Matthew 22:36-39 –
“Teacher, which commandment in The Written Law is the greatest?” Yeshua said to him, “You shall love THE LORD JEHOVAH your God from all your heart and from all your soul and from all your power and from all your mind.” “This is the great and the first commandment.” “And the second which is like it is, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
The simple answer is love. In context, the Commandments are commands to follow. It was called the “Torah” or “The Law,” and was and still is necessary to uphold. Yeshua said to love the Father with the heart, soul, and mind combined. How can this be done? By loving God and thy neighbor as thyself. Therefore if one is able to practice, or put actions in motion by choosing to do what Yeshua stated, clearly all of those “laws” or commands would be upheld by simply applying oneself to uphold the two. When both are of those simplified commands are maintained, the rest are upheld. Remember, Yeshua stated in Matthew 5:17 he did not come to do away with the law but fulfill it.
Do not think that I have come to revoke The Written Law or The Prophets; I am not come to revoke but to fulfill.A simple way to understand this could be if one is acting in love towards their neighbor and to God, they would not find it in their heart, mind, or soul to murder or steal, etc, and therefore all of the laws would be upheld. In essence, they are practicing using all the good attributes stated in the Bible and moral law of life. Within those actions, conviction of applying the two commandments helps those practicing it to abstain from breaking those laws.
Now, most people aren’t thinking of doing harm to themselves or others, so what else can one do to practice and uphold the words Yeshua spoke? Each person must spend their own time reading, researching, reflecting, and DOING. It’s that practical (practice) put into action. Worldly attributes and goals are great in the right setting, but everyone must not neglect or forget about the spiritual ones handed down throughout the ages. This is where the knowledge applied in action will deliver success upon that practical application.
Weekly Challenge:As you read the Bible, recall that practice is a verb and it is choosing to act or to DO an action. Reflect and see what aspects can be utilized to put into practice for your spiritual growth. For example, each time as you read scripture, as you come across a righteous action that could be practiced, write it down and find a way to use it once each day. Keep building that knowledge base and put it into action. The more you do this the more you will become well versed and skilled in those areas. Above all continue to love God with all of your heart, soul, and mind and honor Him by loving each other by doing!