Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does make progress. It involves evaluation and correction. Are we willing?
1 Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.
What do a laboratory, an obstacle course, a batting cage, and a family have in common? They are all places of experimentation and practice. We have the goal: peace, and the problem: strife.
God works within our circumstances. He allows for our choices and the choices of others, yet somehow guides history. HE’S A BIG GOD! He is much more interested in our interaction with each other than He is getting us out of whatever situation we are in.
I heard a sermon the other day that dealt with this interaction. Matthew 15:1-20 was the text. We will look at the last four verses.
17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what make a man [person] ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’” Matthew 15:17-20
To be unclean was to be impure; it can be interpreted as unprepared. When we address the Lord, are we prepared in our minds to receive His fellowship? His counsel? His direction?
What do we do with impure thoughts? We know that they originate in our hearts, which are exceedingly wicked, selfish, and fickle (see Jer. 17:9), and come to us as feelings. We must learn to take these feelings and run them through the filter of the Holy Spirit as we read His Word and pray.
2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
Let’s work toward peace in our homes, our jobs, and at church- everywhere! – by renewing our minds and “taking each thought captive making it obedient to Christ.” 2 Cor. 10:5. Let’s consider others first rather than demanding our own way. It’s the Christ-like thing to do. Only then will we be able to create an atmosphere of peace- as far as we are concerned.
Here is our goal: If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
Practice, practice, practice. We are to be lovingly obstinate. Love is patient and kind. It is never rude. But, love never fails, either. It never gives up and it works to never give in to unclean thoughts and people.
Let us never fail to love.