I can’t hear the word “practice” without thinking of Allen Iverson and his famous meltdown. It was in 2002 in response to a reporters question right after he and the Philadelphia 76ers exited the playoffs in the first round. They were expected to make it to the finals. There had been reports, and even hints from his coach, that he wasn’t committed to being a team player in practice. The rant was the result of not meeting his own expectations, the early exit and the loss of his best friend. In his outburst, he said “practice”22 times. My favorite quote of it was, “We talking about practice. Not a game. Not the game I go out there and die for and play every game like it’s my last. Not the game. We talking about practice, man.”
When I was in high school, I played basketball. Each game was four eight minute quarters. We would spend two hours a day in practice five days a week preparing for games. The difference between winning and losing a game came down to how well you practiced. Coach understood that. We practiced shooting, our plays, our press, our passing and scenarios in order to be flawless when it mattered. Yet most people don’t take practice seriously. As believers, our “practice” is often on a Sunday. It’s where we get coached up, learn about God’s way of living and have the opportunity to show love to fellow Christians.
Philippians 4:9 says, “Put into practice the example of all that you have heard from me or seen in my life and the God of peace will be with you in all things” (TPT). We can’t be like Allen Iverson when it comes to putting into practice godly things. If we can’t show love to each other as believers, how can we show it to the world when we leave? If we can’t worship because we don’t like the songs or the volume, how can we worship during the week? We spend a lot of time complaining about personal preferences on Sunday when we have the greatest opportunity to practice godly traits. We are to be known for our love for one another. Each week we get the opportunity to practice what we preach. Don’t waste your practice time or forsaking the assembling of the brethren. Use each service to put into practice all you’ve learned.