When I was a gymnast I spent hours upon hours training and practicing. Why did I train and practice? Well first of all I liked gymnastics. I liked training. I wanted to be in the gym. But I also practiced so that I could perform and compete. I wanted to be competitive. No one ever forced me to do gymnastics. Actually quite the opposite my father in particular was not a fan of my gymnastics when I was a child. He had concerns about the amount of hours I spent in the gym and the potential negative effects on my body. No one ever forced me to practice. I choose to practice.
There are many “practices” we do in the Christian Faith. We pray, we study, we serve, we got to church, we spend time in community, etc. Are these “practices” necessary to be a Christian and go to heaven? No. There is no way of earning our salvation. Salvation is a free gift we receive through repentance of sin and belief of In Jesus. It is a choice not a practice.
Did I have to practice for 20 hours in the gym to be considered a gymnast. No. I could call myself a gymnast just by doing one single cartwheel. But I practiced 20 hours a week for other reasons.
The practices we do in the Christian Faith are not to earn our ticket to heaven. Rather the practices we do in the Christian Faith are to be healthier, love God, love other people and in those practices we get to experience the fruits of the spirit while still here on this earth. We practice things in the Christian Faith because of the positive benefits to ourselves, others and God. It is not about earning our salvation.
Thus I practice my faith because it brings we hope, Joy, love, peace, freedom, redemption and a sense of fulfillment in this hard life on earth. I practice my Christian Faith because I desire to, not because I have to.