Tell Me Again and Again
By Daphne Delay
Don't be afraid of repetition. Paul said,
"Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe" (Philippians 3:1, NKJV). The New Living Translation says, "I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith."
Parents know this. Teachers know this. The Spirit of God knows this: repetition is good.
I have a friend who has said to me on more than one occasion, "Faith comes by hearing, not by having heard." This is true. Just this morning I opened a podcast to listen to a teaching I've listened to at least a couple of times already. Why? Because I need to strengthen my faith in a particular area.
"Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17, NKJV).
Notice faith comes first by hearing, but not just any hearing, it must be the Word of God we're hearing. I won't ask if you are a stubborn person—but in the past, I have been. My point is you don't have to be stubborn or hard-headed to need repetition.
Paul felt it was important to remind the church in Philippi of things he had previously mentioned. First, he said, "Delight yourselves in the Lord and continue to rejoice that you are in Him" (Philippians 3:1, Amplified). I will add a hearty Amen! It's no secret the times we live in are growing increasingly evil. We aren't exempt from the pressures of life, the temptations to throw in the towel, or the heartaches of personal tragedies. Yet despite all of these, we can rejoice. Life may try to tell you otherwise, but the truth is believers have an unspeakable joy the world does not understand.
Paul summed it up well in a later portion of this same letter:
"I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:11-13, NKJV).
Paul discovered a recipe for being happy. Whether he had much or little mattered not. He understood the joy and strength which came from who he was in Christ. Anything in addition to this was simply gravy.
Paul said, "I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith." And then he said,
"Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation!" (Philippians 3:2, NKJV)
This is surprising, but if we continue reading we discover his statements are directed toward having a religious mindset. He felt it necessary to keep the church in remembrance of the deceptive spirit of religion that sneaks in only to steal, kill, and destroy.
A spirit of religion convinces a person struggling with their worthiness before God that they must earn their salvation. The result of this belief is a strict regimen of religious activities and judgment towards those who do not follow such. Those who live in this atmosphere begin to breed religious pride. They reduce their faith in God into faith in their religion.
God said, "My people perish for a lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6, KJV). This word "perish" can be substituted with words like destroyed, cut down, or silenced. In other words, God's children are destroyed, cut down and/or silenced by a simple lack of understanding of His truth. No wonder Paul said, "For me to write the same things to you is NOT tedious, but for you it is safe." Paul understood the destruction which stems from simple ignorance. And the best weapon against ignorance is repetition! Say it once… say it again! Hear the truth, learn the truth, walk in the truth!
But there are boundaries to our repetition. Franklin Roosevelt made a good point when he said, "Repetition does not transform a lie into truth."
God's unfailing, reliable Word is our truth. No matter how long you and I have been in church, and no matter how many times we've heard a message on a certain set of scriptures, repetition of God's Word is for our safety. Therefore, this truth remains: faith comes by hearing, not by having heard.
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Daphne Delay is the founder of Mirror Ministries in Seminole, Texas. She is the author of Facing the Mirror: Finding a Self to Live With. Daphne has written over 200 articles for subscribers to Mirror Ministries and other publications, and she blogs nuggets of spiritual growth encouragement every week. Daphne is the wife of a senior pastor and the mother of three. www.mirrorministries.org
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