Practice to Truly Live

Sunday, February 01, 2015  ::  

To carry out an activity habitually or regularly is to practice. What in your life is something for which you desire proficiency? For me, exercise, baking, and even parenting are parts of my life that demand consistent practice. I've tasted the cookies of people that only bake once in a blue moon. Usually, one bite is plenty. Lone crumbs on the plate after a party give great evidence that someone has practiced baking their favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.


Our spiritual lives require this important discipline. The more I practice praying, the more I realize I'm truly talking to God with no pretense, fear, or entitlement. Kindness grows as we practice seeing the needs of those around us. Generosity grows as we practice meeting those needs. John Ortberg wrote a book teaching about the purpose in training for the life you want verses simply trying to obtain it. (Consider reading this good book.) 

Of course you know I'm going to say the same is true in memorizing scripture. The more you practice, your ability to remember verses will grow. The more you practice, your ability to apply them to your everyday life will grow. The more you practice, your ability to calm your heart and mind, obey a prompting of the Spirit, and even spontaneously pray scripture will grow and grow and grow. 

Unfortunately, many of us as children took the word "practice" and put it in the negative word folder of our minds. How many of you were forced to practice piano or violin? Did you just shiver a little bit? For me, it was practicing math facts. Just typing that sentence made my lip snarl and nostrils flare. Ick. Well can we just please stop a minute and reclaim the beautiful word of practice? How about these words: 

Review, carry out, persist, work out, get in there, make progress, labor, and my favorite, do your thing! 

A few times a week, say the verse you are memorizing out loud over and over. A few times a week practice remembering the verses you already know by reviewing them. This practice makes the power of His word a very tangible reality in our hearts, minds, and souls. Don't you desire this fruit in your life? I do. I so so SO want this in my life and in yours. 

Click on this photo, so you can get a good glimpse at theses dates. I've been practicing my verses for many, many moons.
You will have to look closely, but there are some antique cards in that pile. 1991! Raise your hand if that card is older than you. Yes. I know. Quite a few of you. Amazingly, I still know each of those verses because I PRACTICE them regularly and have been since I learned them! So whatever your method is, review should be a vital part of your practice. 

This next photo is only a point of encouragement. Jeremiah 9:24 says, "Let him who boasts, boast in this, that he understands and knows me." I'm not promoting my skills, but wanting to show you what your heart, mind, and soul can take in if you practice. 
Review your verses, friends. REVIEW YO VERSES! Practice. Practice remembering. Practice learning. Practice living. Practice loving. Practice being. And then when you practice doing, your heart and mind will be set on heavenly things where Christ is seated at the right hand of God, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:1-2)

This month I'm continuing to take in the passage in 2 Timothy about how the world will be full of junk worming its way into weak-willed women's homes. I'll be working on verses 3 through 5. 

2 Timothy 3:3-5
heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 

Such "happy" verses, aren't they? A good explanation of all of this will be written up soon. I promise. 

Please post what you will be memorizing and/or practicing this month. I can't wait to read what you have to say! 

What are you memorizing? Are you reviewing? How are you practicing what you are learning? 

Blessings in your practice, my friends! 

12 important comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Unknown said...

Practice is not something that comes naturally to me, but it's a discipline I want to increase. I use the Remember Me app on my phone to help remind me to practice. I'm still working on Psalm 1, now verses 3&4:

"He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Unknown said...

These verses have really stood out the last few weeks. I have had pride revealed in lots of areas lately, but through these He is reminding me that sanctification is about Him, by Him, for Him, to be more like Him. Not just to be a more likable version of myself. And while there is some heaviness attached, the beautiful imagery in the verses gets me every time.

"But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." 2 Cor. 3:16-18

Taylor Carlton said...

Practice is something I've definitely been lacking this past week and a half, or maybe more honestly this past month. I've been struggling a lot with feeling loved or liked by certain people and really just not feeling worthy of friendships/relationships with people. It's really been getting me down, but the practice is important because it's good to remember that Jesus still loves me so much, I just need always be remembering that. The verse that I think is a great reminder of this, is Psalm 112:7-8, which I was directed to by the lovely Jenna, so thank you Jenna!
They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes. (‭Psalm‬ ‭112‬:‭7-8‬ NIV)

Alysa said...

I love seeing your cards! Pulling mine out now...

My verse is short but important:

"Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word."
Psalm 119:37

Can't wait to see you on Friday. Having a painful day, might need to take you up on your offer to carry me around!

Angela DeSoto said...

I'm going to continue on in Philippians 3 by adding on verse 9. Hopefully half-way through the month I can add verse 10, but for now I'll focus on this:

"and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,"

Jen Griffith said...

I love this group and am so glad I can participate from afar. The accountability is what I need and it keeps me pushing to practice.

Hebrews 13:5-6
Keep you life free from love of money and be content with what you have, for he has said "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?"

Anonymous said...

I read that John Ortberg book in college and loved it. May have to revisit it. And it's incredibly encouraging to see your stack of cards! I've never done this before, so the whole thing is intimidating to me.

I just listened to a wonderful Tim Keller sermon on understanding God's guidance, and this verse stood out to me:

Proverbs 16: 3
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

Emily said...

I'm working on Ezekiel 36:26 from the week of prayer this month. I might add another one, but am trying to focus on review as well.

Tia Edwards said...

Practice was definitely something I lacked with my passage from last month so I will continue with Philippians 1:9-11 this month. I love the reminder that practice doesn't just happen. It takes more than just good intentions it takes intentional actions!

Anonymous said...

Psalm 27:1 (ESV):
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:13-14 (ESV):
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!

^Love the exclamation points in the above. :)

-Christy H

Anonymous said...

Proverbs 23:4 (ESV):
"Do not toil to acquire wealth: be discerning enough to desist."

Other translations say something to the effect of "Do not trust your own cleverness." But something about that phrase, 'Be discerning enough to desist' catches me. Sometimes I give myself a free pass because I don't really want to be rich in what I think of as the stereotypical way. But that doesn't mean I don't have lots of wayward hopes for things so much less fulfilling than Christ, or distractions when I get caught up in my own image instead of His. "Be discerning enough to desist" reminds me to think twice before partaking in the distractions that captivate my attention, from grave to frivolous, as I seek to truly put Christ first.

-Christy H.

Anonymous said...

Proverbs 16:3 (ESV):
"Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established."

1 Corinthians 8:1b-2
"This 'knowledge' puffs up, but love builds up. He who imagines he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know."

...I think many of the promises we talked about this Sunday are next... :)

-Christy H

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