Does practice really make perfect?

You’ve heard the statement… “Practice makes perfect.” No, it doesn’t! Vince Lombardi, the great football coach reminded his team, “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” Practice can make something permanent though. When you’ve practiced something often enough, it’s ingrained in you. In other words, you’ve got it for life when practice makes permanent.

It doesn’t matter if you’re training for the Olympics, or if you are preparing for a test in school, we all need to practice. Did you know you need to practice at your faith also? Jesus says in Luke 8:18 that your faith grows by putting into practice what you hear.

Think of it like algebra — you have to understand the basics of math in order to be able to move on to algebra. In the same way, you have to put the basics of the Christian faith into practice before you can move on to the deeper things of God. Let’s take a look at how to practice your faith regularly:

You have to train to get better

In Luke 8:18, Jesus is talking about the Kingdom of God. The principle of spiritual knowledge he describes is the idea of putting into practice what you’ve learned in order to understand more. If you want to get better at basketball, you’re going to have to practice shooting free throws. If you want to get deeper in your walk with Jesus, you have to put into practice what you hear.

The language Jesus uses here is pretty important. He says you have to be careful how you hear. Doesn’t this phrase sound a little strange to you? Shouldn’t Jesus have said be careful what you hear? What does he mean when he says “how you hear”? The phrase refers to having a heart ready to respond to what you’ve heard. It’s the idea of being ready to put into practice what you hear from Jesus.

Learn from your mistakes

One of the ways to practice what you hear is to learn from your mistakes. It’s okay to make mistakes. In fact, making mistakes demonstrates you’re learning in the first place. What’s not okay is to continually make the same mistake and not learn from it. This is what Jesus means when he says, “even what you have will be taken away from you” if you don’t put it into practice. In this verse he literally says even what you think will be taken away from you if you don’t put it into practice.

If you are in the habit of reading the Bible, do you put what you read into practice every day? If the Bible identifies an area of your life that needs to change, do you go to work on changing it right away? Or, are you the type of person that reads something in the Bible and then is not affected by it? Don’t lose what you have. Don’t let what you already know be taken away from you because you’re not putting it into practice, and you’re not learning from your mistakes.

Build on your successes

I’m glad Jesus doesn’t just talk about making mistakes; he also talks about building on your successes. He says in Luke 8:18, “the one who has will be given more.” This is the idea of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer — but we’re not talking about money we’re talking about a relationship with God.

When God reveals himself to his people, we should listen to what he says and put it into practice. When God’s people hear from him and walk with him, he reveals more of himself to them. If you want to know God more today than you did yesterday, you have to put what he says into practice. You have to learn from yesterday’s failures and build on yesterday’s successes. Don’t make the mistakes people made in Isaiah 6:9. They heard but refused to listen. They saw but did not understand. As a result, the deep issues of faith were taken away from them and given to someone else.

Further reading