Monday, March 30, 2009

Practice makes perfect?

1967 Varsity Tennis Captain I've heard it said that practice makes perfect. I seriously doubt that. I all depends on how you practice. I started school at 4 years old and was a little smaller and younger than my classmates. By the time I reached high school I was nearly caught up with the class and was doing well in sports. My dad loved tennis, I loved my dad, he had an old racket so I played tennis. Poor Coach, he had his work cut out for him. The coach was one of those fundamental guys. He made me practice serving a tennis ball 500 times every morning all summer. He critiqued every flaw until I could consistently hit the ball the same way nearly every time. Muscle memory finally took over and I could feel when something was not right. All those hours of coached practice led me to the #1 spot in the league and a full ride college scholarship. The RIGHT kind of practice does perfect the skills, but the wrong kind only ingrains the flaws. This reminds me of something in the Bible that at first glance does not make much sense. Hebrews 5:8 says Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. The thought of Jesus having to learn obedience trough anything that resembles practice seems strange. Why did he need to suffer or practice? It does not mean that Jesus passed from disobedience to obedience. Rather, he learned obedience by actually obeying. Jesus practiced doing it right every time all his life and when the BIG obedience came, His death on the Cross for all of us, He was totally ready. In my case, all those practice serves came together in the last game of my High School career. We split the first two sets and were dead even in the final set. It was a really hot day and getting hotter. Fatigue was setting in on both sides of the court but all that practice paid off in the 30th game of the third set. I won 16 to 14 because I had practiced it right. I can only learn obedience in my Christian walk the same way. Practice obedience in the small things and when the big challenge comes along I will be ready. I won then, not because I was the best athlete but because I did not skip practice. We really do learn to do things by consistantly doing it right, not by doing it wrong. The consequences of doing it wrong only motivate us to learn to do it right. We still must practice doing it right. If Jesus learned that way, could we learn any other way? The shack study guide, the Shack discussion guide,


heidi jo said...

ok - i'm needing lots of practice. sometimes i wish he would come over and critique my every serve to help me out...most days i'm GLAD he doesn't but lets me learn with TONS of grace. :) he knows just how much discipline we can handle doesn't he? i've sure got a long way to go!

AWESOME picture, by the way. :)

Doni Brinkman said...

It's that hitting the ball 500 times a day thing that gets me hee hee. :) It might take me a lot more. And I ditto Heidi - I love that picture too.