Pastor's Pondering


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Practice Does Not Make Perfect

by Duane Mabee on December 27, 2018

You’ve often heard it said that, “practice makes perfect”.  I want to take exception to that statement.  Practice does not make perfect, in fact, it can engrain some very bad habits.  Think about it.  All bad habits are the result of practice.  When I was studying piano, if I practiced playing a piece incorrectly, practice actually made it much more difficult for me to ever play the piece the right way. 


Only intentionally evaluated and corrected practice makes perfect.  All good athletes and musicians know that.  That’s why they consistently have people they trust evaluate them.  It’s why they spend countless hours watching videos of their performance or listening to recordings of their work.  They actively, intentionally evaluate what they are doing, make corrections, and then practice, practice, practice doing things the right way.  That is what it takes to become good at what you do.  A well-known study indicates that it takes 10,000 hours of well evaluated, intentional practice to become proficient at something. 


What is true in the realm of music and sports is also true in our personal and spiritual lives.  Practice does not make perfect, unless it is well evaluated and corrected practice. 


This time of year, we often make resolutions.  We think of ways we want to improve and make promises that we’re going to do something different or better.  The only way to turn those promises into reality is through well evaluated and corrected practice.  As believers, most of us want to grow in our spiritual lives.  The only way to make that happen is through well evaluated and corrected practice.  Simply doing something over and over, may actually make things worse.


As we look to a new year, let’s take some pointers from musicians and athletes and apply them to our spiritual lives.  Since it would be nearly impossible to watch videos or listen to recordings of our spiritual life in performance, maybe we should invite some people we trust to give us honest feedback regarding how well we are performing spiritually.  Whatever it takes, let’s agree to intentionally pursue growth in Christlikeness this coming year. 



Happy New Year