The Value of Practice

Hebrews 5:  14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

Every athlete has likely heard the maxim: “practice makes perfect”, but is there truth to it?  While an athlete will never reach perfection, practice clearly makes improvement.   Dan Peterson wrote an article in Sports Science Expert entitled “Why Practice Makes Perfect” and in it he explains the brain science behind practice and performance.

Peterson explains that: “at the center of any skilled movement is the cerebellum… that communicates with input coming in from our arms, legs and our senses through the central nervous system. While it doesn’t initiate movement, it is the control center that manages the constant slight adjustments between what your muscles did and what your senses are telling you about how well it worked.”  Peterson refers to a study by Kathleen Cullen, a professor of physiology at McGill University in Canada.  She set out to better understand the part of the cerebellum which allows elite athletes to perform difficult movements so much better than novices.  “For example, a basketball player shooting free throws first expects the ball to go in after he lets go of the ball, based on his movements. However, visual feedback instantly lets him know where the ball ended up, either in the basket or how far away, so that his brain can then compute the difference between expected and actual outcomes.”

In today’s scripture, the writer of the book of Hebrews introduces the concept of practicing as well.  He says: “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:14).  Christians who read the word of God, and put it into practice, grow in their spiritual maturity and they are then able to handle more difficult Christian truths.  The writer contrasts those who can handle solid food from those who can only drink milk: In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” (Hebrews 5:12).  Again, the difference between these two groups is practice – those who diligently read the Word of God and put it into practice, and those who do not.  The Apostle Paul said: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15).  If you choose to read the Bible and allow it to penetrate your soul, then you will develop the spiritual maturity to correctly handle the word of truth you receive.

Are you a believer who is reading the Word of God and putting it into practice?  Do you feel you are a believer who can discern good from evil or are you walking in a spiritual haze?  God needs disciples who can ingest solid spiritual food and put it into practice.  Will you commit to being such a disciple?


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