As my boys progressed in sports (i.e., cross country, track, football, basketball, and baseball), they increasingly learn the value of practice. Largely, that means the value of repetitiveness for learning and improving. Equally important involves realizing that games and meets simply exist as reflections of how they practice.
This concept transfers to other areas of our lives, too, including following Christ.
“And they will know you are my disciples by your love for one another.” (John 13:35)
Essentially, our interaction with other Christians reflects how we will interact with non-Christians. In other words, our “practice” takes place around other Christians.
- If we love each other, our love for Christ shows.
- If we don’t love each other, non-Christians question the validity of the faith we profess.
- Preferring others is one way to love each other.
- We can improve at loving others the more we practice doing so.
- We both provide and have examples to follow when we love each other.
- Regular interactions (i.e., practices) with a coach (e.g., pastor, mentor, teacher, etc.) are essential.
- Serving allows for exploration and exercising of gifts.
- When love for one another lacks unity, we lose valuable energy for loving outside the body (i.e., the game).
- Loving others in the body means helping the body as a whole, including the “weaker” parts, become stronger.
- Game time takes place on the mission field of life.
What happens when we look at time with other Christians as practice that prepares us for game time (i.e., time with non-Christians)? How does this change our attitude, actions, and words?
Do we too often view loving other Christians as the game and then spend all of our time and energy there? Do we practice a lot and then forget to show up for the game? Maybe our practices aren’t very good because we’re not putting in the effort. Maybe we’re not living love toward other Christians and our weak practice time impacts game time.
“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” (1 John 14:21)