Tag Archives: Practice makes Perfect

The Firsts: Philippians 1 – Practice

[NLT] Philippians 1:27 Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. 28 Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. 29 For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. 30 We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.

Scripture is particularly surprising when ancient words create a bridge to everyday life.  I came across one particular old Greek word in reading what John Piper had to say about Philippians 1: politeuomai.  It’s an action word.
1. to be a citizen
2. to administer civil affairs, manage the state
3. to make or create a citizen
It wasn’t much of a stretch to see in “politeuomai” another more modern-day word…”polit-ics” and that became the bridge of thought for me.  God does have a purpose for our daily life in this world.  He’s created a place for us to practice living as “citizens of heaven, conducting [ourselves] in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ.”  Paul reminds us that’s the very reason we have to stand “together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News…We are in this struggle together…” 

Practice can be fumbling, imperfect and often unpleasant BUT remember these two things: 1. everything depends on what we’re practicing AND 2. practice makes perfect.  God has given us this world to practice being citizens.  We have the “privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him” as we struggle with one another to perfect our desire to “live as citizens of heaven” in the midst of an imperfect reality.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a man of faith who lived and died for these words he wrote: ”I discovered later, and I’m still discovering right up to this moment, that is it only by living completely in this world that one learns to have faith.”

Practice makes Perfect

I Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
There it is again…”Be alert and of sober mind.”
1. So you may pray AND
2. Because your enemy the devil prowls around looking for someone to devour and you don’t want to be a target.

While the words of the Lord’s Prayer are familiar it’s much more difficult to plug my personal prayers into it than I would have thought. It’s going to take some practice and thought. Practice makes perfect.

I. Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…
A. Your name is a holy and spoken prayer in itself. You have chosen to intervene in the life of your creation…my life.
1. I’m grateful for your persuasion
2. I’m thankful for your instruction
3. I’m aware of your blessing

II. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…
A. I have one foot in each of the two kingdoms you’ve created but I live in this one right now. Give me evidence of your will being done on earth to encourage me to keep heaven in sight.
1. Remember the evidence

III. Give us this day our daily bread…
A. Give me the desire to prepare a healthy spiritual diet that’s well balanced with truth AND wisdom.
1. Remember today’s bread
a. Is it just another serving of manna or a full-course meal?
b. Is it nourishment or just food?

IV. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others…
A. My only understanding of the relationship between deserving and forgiveness is what I know you’ve given me.
1. Don’t let my flawed mind and unforgiving heart create a barrier between us.
2. Teach me to forgive in a way that is not limited by my own understanding.

V. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil:
A. Lead us and deliver us, Lord, from the traps of our own making the devil has lined up for us.
1. What are the traps?

VI. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever…
A. This may not be heaven but it is your kingdom
1. Help me find your glory in it.
B. Your Word has power
1. Strengthen my prayers
C. Unite my today with your forever.

VII. Amen:
A. May it come to pass every day and all tomorrows Lord.