Most of us have heard the expression, “Practice makes perfect.” Some of us might even have leaned on this idea and practiced it. However, the actual quote goes a little differently. 

Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.

Vince Lombardi Jr. 

The expression “practice makes perfect” is true to a degree because when we do something over and over it’s like practice. It really doesn’t matter if the thing is perfect or not. If we do the same thing the wrong way, then we will perfect doing it the wrong way. Hence, Mr. Lombardi’s clarification that “Perfect practice makes perfect.” 

When I used to study martial arts, my sensei would diligently watch my form. As I progressed through the ranks, his attention shifted from making sure I did every kick and punch properly; to allowing me to work more on my own. I typically spent more time working through katas outside the dojo than within, so practicing perfectly became more important. 

I spent most of my time studying Tang Soo Do and Kenpo. I had always loved Bruce Lee, so when I was looking for a style to study, I chose Tang Soo Do because it resembled what I thought of when I thought of karate. Jumping through the air, kicking, and spinning. Kenpo was the more practical fighting style for self-defense. However, in both styles, if the forms were incorrect, disaster was imminent. In Tang Soo Do’s complicated series of moves, being out of balance could cause serious injury. In Kenpo, moving incorrectly during a maneuver could mean death. Nothing like moving into a knife strike instead of moving away from it. 

In Philippians 4:8, Paul exhorts the people to think about “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (NIV). Paul also gives them one way to do it.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:9 (NIV)

Paul knew that the people lived like we do today. Sure, the technology may have been different, but the temptations are the same. Paul knew that the people probably spent most of their days engaging with the world. Doing worldly things, and when they were free to do other things, they had a choice. They could practice doing what they had been doing all day long. Engaging with the world: where there is little truth, nobility, righteousness, purity, loveliness, or anything admirable, excellent and praiseworthy to be found, or they could engage in the eternal things of God, where we can find all of these traits.

Our minds are the battleground, and what we allow to come into our minds each day will determine what comes out of them. Garbage in, garbage out. When we are having a hard time getting rid of those thoughts and images that assail us, we should ask ourselves what we are practicing. Eternal things or worldly things?

There’s a lot we can do to saturate our minds with eternal things. Like reading the Bible, praying, singing, and listening to music that edifies God. These are great things to do, and they help us in our struggles. However, when it comes to practicing what we think about. I recommend the practice of thanksgiving and gratitude. I like what Isaiah says in this verse.

And provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor (emphasis added).

Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)

A garment of praise. We can praise the Lord at all times. Just try it. The next time anything happens that you don’t like, instead of thinking about that thing. Thank the Lord. On your way to work and stuck in traffic? Thank the Lord for your job; thank Him for the means to get to work. Thank Him for who he is. Do you feel pain in your body? Thank the Lord that you can feel your body. Thank Him for the healing. Whether you feel it right now or not. Thank Him for the breath of life. 

I guarantee you that if you start giving God praise and thanksgiving, you will see things differently. I will leave you with this verse from 2 Corinthians.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

2 Corinthians 4:17 (NIV)

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.