Wednesday, March 16, 2022

IBS-34 Practice! Practice! Practice!


The Big Idea: We practice what we learn from Scripture and repeat it till it becomes a habit

A few months ago leading a discussion on the Epistles of John we noticed the repetition and contrast of the phrases “practice righteousness” and “practice sinning. ”

Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. I John 3:8

In the New Testament the word “practice” often refers to people who practice sinful things, such as magic (Acts 8:9), adultery (1 Cor. 6:9) and greed (Eph 4:19). But it also is used to challenge Christ’s followers to practice what is right. The Apostle Paul sets himself up as an example to be imitated.

For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you. 2 Thess. 3:7

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Phil 4:9

Applying God's Word to our Lives

If you have been in sports or music, you know that practice, repetition of a desirable action, is important for improvement. I played the piano and violin in school and my mother constantly said, “Practice, Practice, Practice!”

I asked my class how practice at something matters.

“It means it do it over and over again till you improve.”

“You don’t skip practicing or cheat on it, or you won’t be very good at it.”

“You do it regularly, and keep track of it. You remember to do it.”

What implication does that have for righteousness, that is, living right for God?

Living for Jesus is something we need to work at over and over again.

If we are not good at something, we work at it. The same with godly living.

We keep up with it, realizing we have not already arrived. We will have so much to learn.

We are humble. We have a learning posture.

To be clear, practicing and being intentional ungodly living is not how we are saved from our sin. That is a one time deal when we started our Christian journey. It is solely by faith in Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:8) However learning to live for Jesus every day takes intentional practice. We may need to be intentional to get into the habit of what is good and right. Read the Bible every day. Pray every day. Go to church with believers every week. And so on.

This is all about application of the Word. We practice what we read. We apply it actively, not just with our heart but with all we do and say.

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. James 1:22 (NLT)

Now teaching Revelation, I was leaning on the application of a passage, asking what implications there are for us today. I grinned when someone who had been in the Epistles of John class raised her hand and said, “Practice, practice, practice!” 

“Yup,” another chimed in, “Practice, practice, practice!”

They must be mothers.


This is thirty-fourth in a series, Practical Guide to Inductive Bible Study.
Up next: Ten Practical Ways to Apply God’s Word
Previous post: Honest to God



1. Think back on your life experiences. Have you ever had a discipline you needed to practice? Sports, music, writing? Something else? Did it come easily to you or was it hard? How did you keep at it?

2. Have you ever found repetition of a Christian practice to be useful? Is there something you of which you think you could use more practice?

3. Pray about being intentional about living right for God, asking for His help in getting better at it.

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