It’s a little detail, but at the beginning of Philippians 4:11-12 Paul says, “I have learned…” Have you ever paused to think about that? This implies that there was something Paul didn’t know how to do in his walk with Christ and had to practice in order to “get it.” So just pause here and ask yourself, “What do I have to practice?” and then add on, “Do I?”
I was at the Connect Center looking at these four cards and thought of how this little display captures the priorities of what we have been called to practice:
Say YES — it’s a first step, but it is a surrender our whole life long. Are we practicing surrender? Surrender to the beautiful Gospel truth of our absolute need of the cross, and then to living out this life of freedom because of Jesus? Can we say we are learning to?
BiBLE — are we even trying to practice this? Right below the card is a journal and a reading guide. How many in SunRidge are learning from their Bible, letting it reach into their daily lives? Are we slowing down to let the Word of GOD speak, are we humble enough to try journaling to let our pen on paper be led by the Spirit? Oh I so loved this quote by John Piper: “there are eyes in pencils and pens.” Yes! I know this to be true! Are we learning here, allowing this good habit to drive out our harmful ones and introduce life back into us?
PRAYER — Daniel prayed three times a day “just as he always had done”, practicing. What did he practice? Thankfulness above all! (Daniel 6:10). This is what we learn in prayer, eventually. That prayer “to be prayer, to have any power to change anything must first speak thanks…prayer without ceasing is only possible in a life of continual thanks” (1,000 Gifts, Voskamp, 60). This actually creates a seismic shift in how we pray…I am learning this.
CONNECT — this surrendered, Word of GOD filled, prayer life always ends in connecting with what GOD loves, His mission. When we practice these things we always end up practicing loving, outreaching community because we can love the church and love the people of the world out of what we are learning in our times of surrender and solitude with the Spirit of GOD.
Four little cards. They call out to us — Yellow, Black, Blue, and Red — practice….
Though Pastors had preached, “I had never practiced. Practiced until it became second nature, the first skin. Practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation. Practice, practice, practice…” (Voskamp, 54)