I don’t know about you, but “repetition” does not often evoke happy thoughts for me when it is what’s required to build up or strengthen something or otherwise demand a lot of effort on my part. Take exercise for example. I don’t typically think, “Man, my abs are going to look great and my back is going to be so much stronger!!” Instead, I think, “There has GOT to be a better way!!” So, what do I usually end up doing? Nothing. That’s why my lower back is so easily strained and I can nearly be put out of commission just getting Jude in and out of the car. It’s also why I quit taking piano lessons as a child. Too much repetition was required. Well, that and the fact that I was terrified of playing in front of people at recitals. You know what I’m talking about. It’s why many a husband’s golf clubs have been thrown into the woods. The amount of repetition and years of practice it takes to hit the money shot & clear the water every time requires a lot of time and persistence. You can see it, can’t you? It’s a beautiful day. He’s played very well and is an even par for the first nine holes and is thinking, “I’m a natural! I haven’t even played in a month!” The back nine: Tee’s off…right down the middle of the fairway….beautiful! He’s thinking he can be on the green in 2. He’s that good. Next shot……slice…in the woods! “Oh well, I can make it up on the next hole.” Only, from there, he finds the woods, the bunker and the water. The last 8 holes are more revealing than they are forgiving. He finishes with only one ball left in the bag…. and minus a club.You see, to be a consistent golfer, natural ability or not, you have to play regularly and visit the driving range frequently. Unfortunately, for most people, as much as they’d love to, that is extremely inconvenient. Furthermore, for many who do visit the driving range often, learning to strike a golf ball well and consistently well, proves extremely frustrating. When my boys were having trouble with their baseball swings, not hitting the way they wanted and knew they could, we knew just who to take them to see. We know a great coach who can look at a swing and see just where it’s lacking. More importantly, he has a gift and a way of communicating to them what they need to do to correct their swings that we as parents and even their dad as a coach, just can’t. However, as the boys have learned, all of the lessons in the world are pointless if they don’t go home and practice the techniques he teaches them to work out the kinks and improve their game. Repetition, repetition. Or as we have always heard, “practice makes perfect.” Though, it may not actually make us perfect in those areas, most of us would settle for steady, consistent, reliable….just a little confidence when we get up to bat.
I guess I need to move on….starting to repeat myself! J This past weekend at a Beth Moore conference, I got a much needed lesson myself on repetition. She taught out of an unfamiliar passage of scripture to me, 2 Kings 5. This is the story of Naaman, a great commander of the Syrian who was well respected in the eyes of the king….despite the fact he was a leper. It’s a very interesting read without even expounding on it. It says he is a great man in his master’s eyes but uses the word “BUT”, as in, he has this one thing that seems to hold him back….it’s just always with him. He hears there is a prophet (Elisha) that may be able to cure him of this disease. So, he tells the king and the king sends him to the king of Israel to seek help. The king of Israel doesn’t know what they want him to do about it but when Elisha hears, he tells them to send Naaman to him. Only, when Naaman gets there, Elisha doesn’t go out to see him, but sends a messenger with instructions for Naaman to go wash in the Jordan river…. 7 times…and be clean. Well, Naaman is livid. He doesn’t know why Elisha doesn’t come out to him and he finds the instructions ridiculous. This was not the kind of healing he was expecting. He wanted the whole show….calling on the name of the Lord and such. But, his servants go to him and basically ask him what his problem is….all Elisha told him do was go to the river to wash! Was he really going to leave without even trying to be cured?? Needless to say, Naaman gets over himself and does what he was told and leaves there with skin clean, “like that of a little child”.
Her lesson was called “Claimin’ Naaman”! One of her main points was from this portion of verse 1: “He was a mighty man of valor…..but he was a leper.” How many of us have a thing that makes us think, “If it wasn’t for this ___________, I could be this__________”? Maybe it’s something we think and subconsciously tell ourselves all the time, maybe it’s a fear, maybe it’s a big fat failure, maybe it’s an old wound that someone else caused, whatever it may be… we replay it over and over and over again….and it’s always with us. “If it wasn’t for this __________, I could be this __________. “, “If they only knew this_____________ about me, they wouldn’t think this __________.”, etc. What we need and are missing is a healing in some area. But, as Beth said, “sometimes we refuse to do what healing requires!” by throwing our fits and saying, “I don’t want my healing this way” or even, “I refuse to heal this way!!” These are some of the reasons she threw out there as why we think and act this way in the areas we struggle:
- It seems ridiculous! We are either too self-important or we just don’t believe it will work. We just can't see the reasoning here.
- It seems too hard! Maybe it’s too humbling to own up to this thing or maybe it’s just something that we don’t think we have the strength to work through.
- It’s inconvenient. (This is the one that got me). IT REQUIRES TOO MUCH REPETITION!!
This one is so me. I so easily revert to that kid who doesn't want to practice the piano who, consequently, doesn't want to get up and play in front of others. Naaman had to go wash 7 times. It doesn’t say why. But, could it have been that with each dip, he was humbling himself before God and exercising his faith muscles? Naaman left a changed man, not just with clean skin. He left knowing and fully believing in the One true God because he had been healed.
I’ll paraphrase Beth here the best I can because it’s just too important and I don’t want to mess it up: “If we don’t like the way our medicine looks, we try to write our own prescriptions. Positive thinking only carries you a few weeks…. We can’t write our own prescription for healing. It has to be God, it has to be God. We have to know his Word and hide it in our heart. Scriptural healing requires repetition!! Speaking these truths over and over and over and over and over again is necessary because our mental attitudes, addictions, ways of thinking, etc., are REPETITIOUS. It takes GOD to change your heart and your perspective. Know the Word! Claim you a verse and say it over and over and over again. When the enemy presents you with fresh condemnation or fear and finds that instead of stopping in your tracks, you thank God and praise Him because you are forgiven or because His strength is made perfect in your weakness, he will STOP!! He is not going to do anything that causes us to praise God.”
Paul gives us a great example of not getting the type of healing we want when he refers to the “thorn in his side” that he had begged God to take away. It doesn’t say if it was a physical ailment, or a mental or fleshly vice. But, he referred to it as a “messenger of Satan, sent to harass me”. His response was this, (2 Cor 12:9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.)That’s all I want and really all I need, the power of Christ to rest upon me. In all of my insecurities, all of my regrets, all of my fears about the future, anything and everything that may play itself over and over in my mind and keep me from doing anything He has called me to do or receiving anything He wants me to receive. Cause I’ll tell ya….as Beth said & I agree, if He’s got something for me….. I WANT it!! The father of all lies loves to harass. That’s for sure. He wants us to believe that we don’t really want it and that God isn’t love…He’s just sitting up there with a big flyswatter waiting to wack us on the head. But, we do not have to be so easily deceived….I mean…who likes to be made a fool? Satan will always come up short when face to face with the Word of God in our hearts and on our tongue. So, the question now is, “where to start??” If you aren’t sure…here are some good starters:
- 2 Cor 12:9, above
- Lamentations 3:22-24 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion”, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him.
- Luke 1:49-50 For He who is mighty has done great things for me, holy is His name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
- 1 John 4:4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
- 2 Peter 2:19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.
- Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free; stand firm then, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
- 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
- Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
- 2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and sound mind.
Got a spot that needs attention?? Do what the shampoo bottles say…Rinse (with the water of the Word), lather (with prayer and repetition), and repeat as needed..... until it’s so clean you can see His reflection. What verse are you claimin’ today??