Born ... AgainSilence
<p>Courtesy of Aaron Burden via Link
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.
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