Practice and Precept

Practice and Precept


Napoleon, commenting on the military genius of Marshal Villars, said, “he has united practice to precept.” I thought this was very interesting. It is easy to focus on the precepts and principles expressed by the wisdom of great men. In fact, speaking of the Bible specifically, many non-Christians have found certain truths beneficial to their life and overall wellbeing. Furthermore, the same has seen usefulness and value in the Scriptures though they aren’t committed followers of Christ. However, what’s good in precept should be confirmed in practice. Adopting a particular practice should show the worth and prove the truthfulness of the precept. I think men get lost in the pontifications of precepts. We tend to simply be satisfied with musing on thoughts and pearls of wisdom but slothful in endorsing the same with our actions. We love it in theory but seem to despise it in practice.

How can this dichotomy be solved? For we will witness in other men their principles and applaud their practice, citing them as intelligent and clever, but then too shy away from mirroring their example. It is imprudence and possibly arrogance that ushers us into this hypocrisy; growing up, I was told, “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” This attitude is fallacious for all kinds of people, especially those of the Bride of Christ who belongs to the household of faith. We must, as Christians, line upon line and precept upon precept, imitate His example. We do ourselves a disservice enjoying His wisdom in theory but deny Him grace in practice. God’s truth is worth more than examination; it’s worthy of imitation as well.

Imagine teaching a man who’s starving how to fish. He has all the tools and theoretical knowledge of proper form and procedure. He seems delighted in acquiring this knowledge, yet he moves not himself to get near any body of water, nor if he sees such in his journey takes the opportunity to feed himself. You would esteem him delusional at the least or insane at best. How are we measured by the world when they witness us go to church to hear biblical principles but display contempt by our habits? Would we not be appraised as the people described in Titus 1:16, “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” Therefore, let us honor the wisdom of God.


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