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Repetition, Repetition, Repetition . . . Hey, Didn’t I Already Say That?!

15 Aug

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Photo by irkengirdib on Morgue File.

What is more ridiculous, a rabbit wearing a fur hat or an antelope bobbing for apples? 

Okay, that has nothing to do with what I am writing about today! I just thought I would keep you on your toes!

Even though I am not a professional teacher (i.e. I do not get paid a salary for teaching) I do quite a bit of it. I teach groups of people and I discuss theological topics with individuals from time to time as well. 

I have written about my passion for learning and my love of teaching in many other posts, feel free to search the blog and find those. 🙂

As a teacher, I find myself saying many things over again. No, it is not because I am going senile and forgetting what I just said. No, it is not because I am going senile . . . hey, wait a minute! As Cary Grant said in Arsenic and Old LaceInsanity runs in my family, it practically gallops!

No, I do it on purpose. I do it because I have learned in my own studies that repetition is a wonderful teacher. Of course, repetition can be a tricky thing. If I hear something enough I may start believing it, whether there be any truth to it or not. If I hear something enough I may assimilate it into my own thinking, my own opinions without stopping and asking if it is right and true. 

I remember when I was in graduate school, I would drive about an hour one way to the school. There was a song that would often play on the radio. A song that I really did not care for at all. In fact, I would usually either turn the station, turn down the volume or turn the radio off so I would not have to listen to it. But, there were times I would let it play and pay it (seemingly) no mind. 

After a few times of this, one day I noticed that I was singing along to the song! I was actually singing this song that I did not like! What had happened is that I had heard the song enough by way of repetition that I had learned the words really against my own will! 

So, we must be on guard with what we allow to pass through our ears and into our minds. This is why the apostle Paul admonishes believers to bring every thought captive unto Christ

But, repetition, as a teaching tool, can be very beneficial. Yes, people may get tired of hearing you say the same date for some historical event over and over; but, before long, they will remember it. 

Repetition is also a good instructor of habits and disciplines. A Christ-follower is called to a life of discipline and holy habits. There is a reason Jesus instructed his followers to take up their crosses daily

The life of discipleship is one of repetitive acts. Acts that teach me humility, obedience and trust. Acts that mold me into the image of Christ. 

Yet, as mentioned above, there is a danger lurking here as well. The disciple must be eternally vigilant. This same repetition that produces positives in my daily walk with Christ can also, if left unchecked, lead to ritualistic monotony. 

It can lead to a self-satisfaction that causes me to look at the things I do as worthy of his name. It can cause me to become me-centered and take my eyes off of Christ and his sole-sufficiency. It can cause me to become work-centered instead of grace-centered.

It can become a burden on my back. A duty and nothing more. An act of going-through-the-motions, of dotting my i’s and crossing my t’s with no real thought as to the meaning and significance of the thing itself.

Thus, I must be on guard and watchful. I must be careful. I must allow the Holy Spirit to control the repetition, to ensure it is beneficial and bringing about godliness in me; rather, than me being controlled by it . . . in which case, it becomes a stumbling block and a deterrent to the very things I am trying to gain.

 

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Posted by on August 15, 2014 in Christian, Discipleship and Confession

 

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