Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Wednesday, September 21 - Becoming Proficient

“For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.” — Ezra 7:10

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How does one become proficient with any skill or sport? I love to ask young people I work with if this statement is true: “Practice makes perfect.” Most will answer with an emphatic “yes.” I will then illustrate the fallacy of that statement by doing a drill incorrectly and ask, “If I practiced in that manner over and over perfectly, would I reach the major leagues?” The answer is always “no.”

Perfect practice makes perfect. The fact of the matter, however, is that we can’t practice perfectly 100% of the time. What we need to understand is that practice does make permanent, so we need to be careful in how we practice.

Every move we make when we practice creates muscle memory. When I was a MLB pitcher, every time I picked up a ball and threw it, I was conditioning my body to perform in the game. How you practice will affect how you play in the game. To become proficient, a person must learn to repeat a desired motion that will put them in position to succeed.

Ezra in the Bible understood this principle from a spiritual standpoint. The Israelites were returning to Jerusalem after 70 years of captivity in Babylon, and Ezra devoted himself to being the man to help them recover their spiritual heritage. He would study the Word of God, practice it personally, then teach the Israelites to follow his example.

May we follow Ezra’s example in our own spiritual lives.

— Mickey Weston, Chicago White Sox chaplain

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