“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 3:18
In our home there are three children, and when they were younger they took lessons on different musical instruments. It was not unusual to hear the sound of a flute coming from one room and the notes of a clarinet from another—and sometimes they both were drowned out by the noise of a French horn from a third room. The most concentrated practicing came when it was time for tryouts in the school band. Each one wanted to do his or her best, and sometimes the competition was fierce. The solution was to practice, practice, practice! That was the way our children could hone their musical skills, and many times they attained first chair as their prize.
It can be easy to forget that the necessity of practice applies to life skills, too. One example would be fitting into situations which we find uncomfortable but are an unavoidable part of life. Maintaining a joyful attitude even with associates who are difficult to be around may take practice. We may also have to deal with unruly family members, obstinate coworkers, or hard-to-please employers. It requires a lot of grace to deal with these things, and a lot of self-discipline to practice the grace of God when we need to.
Some try to run from opportunities to practice God’s grace. After all, it is not easy—if it were, we would not need His help. Yet, the objective we strive for is much more important than first chair in the school band. Perseverance under pressure can bring tremendous rewards! If we are patient and kind, we will be a blessing to those around us, even if they do not admit it. If we consistently practice honesty and integrity, everyone we meet will benefit. As we practice the attributes we know God expects us to have, we represent Christ and impress upon others His goodness and love for them.
With God’s help, we can learn to be gracious and upright wherever we are. Sometimes it seems impossible to be that kind of person in a difficult situation, and we may even feel that we have failed at first. But as we talk it over with the Lord and humbly ask Him to help us, He will show us how to practice the principles that enable us to grow in His grace.