repetition In general you can say that keeping silence and stillness before God means to do again what God has already done. In other words, become an imitator of God Almighty. This act of transforming yourself by imitating God is called repetition. Yet, today when it seems that through technology “new” things are happening every day, repetition has become a dirty word. If not for hunger, we would get tired of eating and if not for choking, we’d get tired of breathing too! This subtle pervasive desire for “new” experiences and “new” stuff lies at the root of every bad reason people give for leaving their church or their marriage. It is why, after many years of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ over and over, the preacher is tempted to talk about “something new”.And yet, as we have discussed elsewhere, we are incapable of making anything new. Scientists and mathematicians are glorified rap musicians. All they do with every discovery and logical proof is remix what God has already put out there. Penicillin, among the top three greatest discoveries in medicine, was stolen from the penicillium fungus (who is suing for patent rights by the way). I could go on. But Solomon already said over and over in Ecclesiastes that there is nothing new under the sun Ecclesiastes 1:8-11. And so may our discussion help us to strive for the highest of human movements: Repetition.Why?What then is repetition? When I hear the word repetition, the first thing that comes to mind is doing the same thing over and over. But this is only one dimension of repetition. Consider that an acorn growing into a tree only seems to do two things over and over again: it grows down its roots and grows up its branches. Over and over the acorn does this till perhaps the acorn even grows boredom too. But anyone observing the acorn very soon sees that through this repetitive behavior the acorn is becoming a tree.Notice that, obviously, an acorn is not an oak tree. Yet the acorn transforms into an oak by daily laying down its own nature and taking on the nature of the tree. Sitting comfortably under the shade of the oak, we can reflect and conclude that the oak tree was already within the acorn and the acorn, through fear and trembling, worked itself into a tree Phil 2:12. By transforming into a tree, the acorn dies and yet lives. It dies into life. It speaks through silence. It moves by sitting still. It arrives by waiting. Essentially, by transforming into a tree, the acorn repeats itself and yet is new. And now we can define repetition. In general, repetition is transformation by DAILY sacrificing yourself to become another. Christianly understood, repetition is transformation by DAILY choosing to live the life of Jesus instead of your own Luke 9:23, John 10:17-18, 12:24.But we have come here to learn how to read the Bible. Why all this fancy, ?confusing talk about repetition? When I have difficulty reading the Bible, it is often because I have read it so much that it doesn’t feel as new any more. Like our acorn above, after doing the same thing over and over for while, I get bored. I start taking things for granted and stop devoting as much energy and fervency to the task. Many married men behave similarly when they only remember to show love to their wives after they’ve forgotten the last loving thing they did. This pattern of behavior is extremely dangerous. Everyone falls but sometimes the bones you break can take forever to heal. It would have been better never to fall at all. So that I might not die, I must become an expert at repetition especially when it comes to reading the Bible and doing what God says.The Fuel For RepetitionBut it’s not quite fair to compare ourselves to acorns and oaks. Afterall, the acorn has an easy time finding the sunlight and water that fuel its transformation. So where is my light and where is my water? So I think our next task is to find the fuel, the encouragement that will power our next act of self-sacrificial devotion towards the Lord. I need power to again take up the cross today even when I did it yesterday. So far, I have found that the expectation of joy is the only fuel for any act of repetition. This makes sense when you think about how easy it is to do again what you enjoyed in the past. This focus on the joy up ahead is biblical. Nehemiah, after reading the law, told the people to rejoice and not grieve Nehemiah 8:8-9. The joy of the Lord gives you strength Nehemiah 8:10 to do the law of the Lord. Hebrews encourages us to shed our sin, endure the cross and consistently pursue God by expecting that joy is ahead of us Hebrews 12:1-2.If it is for joy that we run again, we have to ask, “Whose joy?” Nehemiah was clear to say, “The joy of the Lord is our strength.” Psalms 37:4 repeats the same by telling us to “Delight ourselves in the Lord.” Anticipation of human joy is eventually not enough to encourage and empower us to do again what we did at first. Only the ever growing joy of the Lord is our strength. When you feel the joy of the Lord, when you know that God delights in you, you can’t help but make time to spend time with Him so you can feel that joy again. This was true in my life when I first became a Christian. My joy in the Lord and my delight in His Word was so was overwhelming that I could not not put the Bible away no matter how many hours I had just spent reading the Bible the day before.How New Are You?But joy is already such a lofty word and even more the joy of the Lord soars above the stratosphere. So let’s bring things down to earth. Nehemiah said, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” It seems like there are two things going on in this verse. First there is the joy of the Lord. Then when you feel the joy of the Lord, the desire to feel that joy again is your strength. The great John Piper does a great job explaining what joy is in this video. What we will talk about is how to position yourself to experience and feel the joy of the Lord.To do this, let us first change our perspective. Unfortunately, wherever repetition is easy, we have often made the mistake of thinking that joy comes from the newness of the behavior being repeated. Yet a constant pursuit of new experiences will actually prevent us from experiencing joy. Can an acorn ever become an oak by growing its roots in the new and fancy direction of up!? Adulterers often make one stupid but somewhat honest statement about the object of their infatuation: “She/he made me feel new again”. It is a stupid statement because the strength to consistently love your wife of many years is NOT proportional to how “new” she is. It is a somewhat honest statement because it approaches the truth: the physical evidence, the physical expression for inner joy is your newness and transformation.Your joy, your capacity, your drive to consistently love your husband is NOT related to how new he is. An acorn that refuses to grow down its roots will never experience the new depths of the “old” soil. So also, the depth of your joy in your husband or wife is directly proportional to how new you are. Have you grown down your roots into your husband and have you grown up your branches into the Lord? Have you changed your behavior on earth because of the Word that came down from Heaven? It is only through self-transformation and self-renewal that you position yourself to experience joy. And with joy, you gain the strength and desire to remain consistent.A Rough SketchAs I close, let us talk briefly about sources of joy. The growing acorn gets energy from water deep in the earth and from the sunlight in the sky. So also, for the Christian, joy is intimately linked with both communal and personal growth in the Lord Ephesians 4:13. The Christian finds joy by rooting himself in church while reaching up for the Lord. Therefore, no husband should say that his wife is no longer new. By refusing to sacrificially grow into her, he becomes old since he no longer repeats himself. There can be no joy in the Lord when I refuse to root myself in my church while pursuing the heart of God.In the Bible, you will find proof for all we have just said but this chapter is getting too long. Let me sum up here by laying out a rough path. As God transforms you through your decision to live His Life, you will feel His joy and be encouraged to again sacrifice your life by living His Own. This is the specific case of repetition for the follower of Jesus. In the next article we will explore what the Bible says about re-newing yourself.
<p>Courtesy of Aaron Burden via unsplash.com: Link