Batting Practice and Spiritual Growth

Scott AtteberyChristian Living, Discipleship

batting

Bryce took a batting lesson last week. I listened carefully so that I could work with him in the days following. The coach was very clear in his instruction and patient in his approach.

I knew that one lesson wouldn’t suddenly turn my seven-year-old into a major league slugger. Everyone knows that even the most talented athlete has to practice regularly in order to hone their skills. So we have been repeating the coach’s drills every day at home.

The same kind of repeated practice is an ordinary part of the parent-child relationship.

“Don’t forget to cover your mouth.”

“You need to tie your shoe.”

“Did you wash your hands?”

I have repeated these phrases –and others- more times than I care to remember. In fact, I can’t think of anything I have taught my son that hasn’t required repetition. Teaching is not a one-time event. It requires patient repetition as the learner makes progress.

We all know this when it comes to working with our children. But, we tend to forget the principle when it comes to discipleship.

Most of us have a false assumption that just because we discussed a passage of scripture, exemplified a spiritual discipline, explained a biblical principle, or provided godly counsel to a problem one time, that our disciple has “got it.” We think that just because we finished another chapter in a workbook, they have automatically matured. Then, we get frustrated when they continue having the same problems, questions, or misunderstandings. After all, weren’t they listening the first time?

Go back and look at Christ’s discipleship of the apostles. Notice how many times he repeats truths, answers the same questions, and continues modeling behaviors. Notice the amount of times He spoke of His death and resurrection. Observe how many ways Jesus demonstrated the fact that He came to love and serve helpless sinners –not hobnob with self-righteous religious types. Consider His repeated words about the last becoming first and the blessings of suffering for his sake.

If Jesus, the master disciple-maker, used repetition to be effective, don’t you think we should expect to do the same?

If Jesus, the master disciple-maker, used repetition to be effective, don’t you think we should expect to do the same?

If Jesus, the master disciple-maker, used repetition to be effective, don’t you think we should expect to do the same?

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