Too Much of a Good Thing

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Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

I get a lot of encouragement from the book of Philippians.  Some of my favorite verses to read and reread and in Philippians 4.

We are encouraged to rejoice, to pray, and to practice what we have heard.

I used to hate the word "practice."

Somehow, in my growing up, practice came to mean becoming perfect.  And if somehow I was short of perfect, I failed.

No need to tell you that I felt like I failed a lot!

At some point, the word practice took on the meaning "try."

Yet, somehow, the word try means something different in our world.

I learned that "I'll try" seemed to mean that there might be a dubious attempt to do something.  

I was pretty sure that Scripture didn't mean that.

It took a misspelling of the word practice to help me to understand what it truly meant.

You see, I mistyped and wrote the word "practive" instead of "practice."  

It took me a second to see what the mistake was.  I was seeing the word "active."  When it finally dawned on me what the mistake was, I was almost sad!  Isn't that what practice means?  We are actively putting what we learn into practice.

No, we aren't going to be perfect.  And our challenges can make it all the more difficult to focus on the things Paul tells us are important.  It's hard to rejoice when you are in pain.  It's challenging to see lovely things when darkness is all around us.  

And God doesn't tell us we have to be perfect in these things before He grants us His peace.

Through Paul, He just tells us to practice.  We are to actively seek out these things.  Of course we will fail at times.  We aren't told to be perfect in them.  Just be active.  

And though we may not be able to be as active as we'd like in our physical lives.  Though we face limitations that most don't, we can choose to be as active as we can in our spiritual lives.

And one way to do that is to look for those things that are true, honorable, and lovely.

Father God, Even as we walk through th edepths of our challenges, encourage us to continue to look for the good.  And during the times when we can see no good at all in our lives, help us to continue to trust in You to bring us the place where we can once again see "the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."*  Amen and amen.

* I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. Psalm 27:13


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