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The Dreaded Word: Practice!

Hebrews 5:14

But solid food is for the mature, who, because of practice, have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

When I was a boy, my parents made me practice at the piano for an hour a day. I took piano lessons from the 2nd grade until I entered the 11th grade. In my senior year I tied for first place in a national competition. I wanted to continue taking lessons in college. I asked around to see who was the best piano teacher on the music faculty. Every person gave the same name: Mrs. Hermann. I went to her studio and asked her to teach me. She replied, “I’m sorry, but my schedule is full.” I begged, “Please, would you let me play something for you first?” She agreed. I played for about a minute before she interrupted me and said, “I’ll make room for you on my schedule.” She then said, “Now you need to
understand that if you take lessons from me you will be expected to practice four hours.” I said, “No sweat! Four hours a week will work just fine!” She then replied, “No, young man—I mean four hours every day!” I couldn’t imagine any torture greater than practicing that much. With a polite handshake, Mrs. Hermann and I parted ways.

As I look back on that moment, I’ve come to realize that learning to play the piano has a lot in common with learning to live the Christian life. The same concept applies to both: if you want to achieve a higher level of performance, you have to be willing to practice. Salvation is a gift, but spiritual discernment isn’t. Spiritual maturity takes a lifetime. Having a discerning, godly walk with Christ will require hours of practice every day. Wherever you find yourself today, whether just a beginner in the Christian life or a believer for many years, start practicing. And keep in mind that Jesus Christ is the only One who ever mastered the Christian life. He also happens to be both the Model and the Teacher of how to walk in wisdom.