(See Part 1: http://ow.ly/bjvIq )
By: Staci Stallings
In the first part of this series, I told you about this basketball team who only came and listened about to how to play the game once a week. They never set foot on the court to practice, never held the ball, never practiced shooting or defending. And we decided that a team doing it this way is going to lose and lose BADLY.
As I thought about the “in theory” part, I had to remember the scene in “Miracle” (the movie about the 1980 U.S. Hockey Team who eventually won the gold medal). The scene is one in which their coach is trying to show them a new way to play hockey. Prior to this each player had a box they stayed in, and they were getting killed playing that way. So his idea was to make the whole game more fluid, where each player had a zone (if you know about hockey, don’t kill me if I have this wrong–that’s what I got out of it).
But in the scene, the coach is explaining this new way to play, and he’s all animated drawing with lines and arches and squiggly lines as the players look on baffled. Suddenly, he says (paraphrase), “And that’s how we’re going to do it. Let’s go.” He skates away, leaving the team all standing there, staring at this “diagram” in complete incomprehension! It was hilarious.
You see, there comes a time that just listening to God’s Plan for an hour in church just doesn’t cut it anymore. While it’s important to understand the philosophy and the game plan, knowing only that will not get you very far. You can’t just listen and think you have it anymore than a basketball team can listen to a coach diagram plays and think they can do it.
There comes a time when you have to PRACTICE what you’ve heard.
You take the theory, and you practice it. You get the ball in your hands, and you shoot–a lot–if you want to get good at it. You face off with someone else who has the ball, and you defend. You do drills and run plays. You memorize plays. You play together. You pass. You catch. Other people play against you so you can sharpen your skills.
This is not for fun. It is so you can get good enough to play a real game!
The problem that Casting Crowns highlights in “The Altar and the Door,” is that far too many of us, hear the theory and never bother to practice anything we’ve heard! We hear about forgiveness but never practice it. We hear about trusting God, but we don’t practice it.
And when we don’t practice it on the little things, we’re no better off that than team who steps onto the court to face an opponent without ever having touched a basketball!
Just how effective do we think we can be at working God’s Plan if we never practice?
Are we really that naive?
Because let me tell you, Satan is a serious opponent on the court of life. He plays for keeps. And if you’re not in practice, you will be destroyed.
God is giving you the Game Plan. And then He graciously gives you opportunities to practice the Game Plan.
Practice happens in those little moments–when someone cuts you off on the highway. Ding. An opportunity to practice patience and forgiveness. When the waiter takes a little longer than usual to bring out your drinks. When the person who promised to be there at a certain time is late. When you want to lie “just this one time” because it sounds easier…
Understand, these are not tests. They are practice.
What are you doing with these little practice opportunities?
Do you practice what you’ve heard? If not, you’re missing the point altogether.
God’s Plan is about LIVING it, not just hearing it.
My daughter has a saying, “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.”
What makes you a Christian is PRACTICING what you’ve heard in church!
(Watch for Part 3 of this series coming next week!)
Check out: Deep in the Heart