Practice Makes Perfect

by APC on January 03, 2019

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you (Philippians 4:9, KJV).

Strive for Mastery

According to our key verse, we’re told to practice what God’s Word instructs us to do. Godly practice (living for Him) must occur over and over again and continue to improve as we live each day. Paul even says that we need to strive for mastery in our manner of living for God (I Corinthians 9:25). If athletes devote themselves to become disciplined in their sport, how much more should we as Christians practice and become disciplined or proficient in our walk with God?

Always in Practice

Until we reach Heaven, we’re all practicing daily. We practice ministry, faith, spiritual responsibility, accountability, etc. If we’re going to be a strong Christian, or a strong body of Christians, we can’t forget to practice the even basic, fundamental things. It’s when we take care of practicing (doing) basic Christian principles (e.g., prayer, fasting, reading the Word), they will take care of us. Let it be said that we won’t fall away from living for God if we ensure that we’re practicing the basics daily; you can’t backslide praying every day!

Growing Together

While we all can practice our Christian walk individually, we need to practice discipleship together as a church. It’s important for us (the body of Christ) to grow together. Our culture teaches us to view things individually, but we need to pursue community instead in the Kingdom of God. The early church practiced community as their primary nature (they didn’t wait for special events, special needs, etc.). They learned together, grew together, and supported one another daily. If we search the Scriptures, we’ll find that discipleship happens together.

Scripture teaches that God instituted and gave the five-fold ministry to equip the Saints for the working of the ministry until everyone has matured in Christ (Ephesians 4:11–12, 16). There are more supporting Scriptures for how the entire church should be maturing together instead of individually.  When God brings people together they’re meant to grow together (Hebrews 10:25). The growth of one disciple should inspire and provoke another to do the same!

The Spirit Add Us

When God poured out the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1–4), He gave it to add us to His body. When the church was established on Pentecost, from there God added to the church daily (Acts 2:46–47). The Holy Ghost was meant to be a community experience! When the disciples were called, they weren’t alone. After the Holy Ghost came, they all ministered together. It’s this ministry that should be both supported and made accountable by fellow disciples (Philippians 1:27). We must strive side-by-side for the Gospel!

Contribute to Growth

Growing together in Christ is a give-and take proposition: growth for us and growth for the church. We should want to be a part of the church so we can contribute as much as we can (Romans 1:11–12). We can’t view church activities only as what it means for us. What can we contribute to impact someone else? Early followers accepted the “together” nature of discipleship and realized it took everyone pitching in (Acts 2:44–45). Our discipleship in growth and community will extend beyond a given day or given location; it’s all about how we live daily (Acts 2:46). Remember, in God’s Kingdom, we come together to see what we can contribute.

Accountability and Faith

Growing together allows accountability to disciples which in turn unifies our faith. We cannot forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25). When we make ourselves accountable to others, we listen to others as well as encourage. We can help to measure the atmosphere of a circumstance and provide common ground and support for someone else.

God’s drawn to people who are together (Matthew 18:20). When we grow with a group of disciples, this will bring heightened awareness of our own spiritual need. Conviction comes swiftly upon communities (Acts 2:37); He makes us more aware of our unrighteousness. Human nature has a tendency to fear conviction; therefore, instead of embracing the body we try to isolate ourselves. But, we need to be available and in His presence so we can be mended and healed. We get the help we need in the house of God and with the people of God to continue on(Acts 2:42)!

Conflicts to Growing Together

There are three things that keeps a church from growing together: 1) lack of love, 2) distraction from overall direction and purpose, and 3) a basic lack of spirit-led behavior. Growth happens in the culture of God’s love that we have one for another (Ephesians 4:16). God will not trust vulnerable souls to a vulnerable body. We need a strong body for souls to be added. Let’s grow and practice our Christian walk together!

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on January 2, 2019 with Pastor Nave