Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Do You See Small Enough?

I been thinking about the repentance process and my last post talked about some of the BIG changes that repentance can bring about in a person’s spiritual progression.  I gained additional insight today as I was listening to a horse trainer explain how basic maneuvers are repeated with the horse until the amount of pressure to the reins can be reduced to just a few ounces of pressure and yet the horse responds. Horses learn very quickly but often the trainer fails to get the results he wants.  This is not because the lessons are difficult for the horse or difficult for the trainer.  This is not because the horse is somehow unable to achieve that level of mastery.  The reason that the trainer fails to achieve the desired results is that the trainer stops repeating the lessons.  The trainer stops because he or she doesn’t see the smallest changes.  Every repetition of the exercise produces smaller and smaller results.  This is logical. The horse becomes better at the exercise and responds quicker. The trainer sees big improvement at first but does the trainer continue to see the subtle changes in behavior, attitude and stance?

In the repentance process, the biggest changes occur first.  As the spiritual progression continues, the changes are smaller. Each repetition brings a quicker response, a more submissive reaction and a humbler stance. God being infinite can see infinitely small changes.  He is the Creator and his designs reach all the way down to the atomic level. In God’s training methods, we can expect to see repetition.  We might even wonder why he is repeating a lesson that we feel we have already mastered.  What is the purpose in this uniquely challenging Earth experience? 

As we repent, we show submission and humility.  We can choose to accept the changes or we can choose to distance ourselves from God and avoid his correction.  C.S. Lewis’s great quote gives insight into the purpose to God’s training and our acceptance of his correction.  He said, “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”  (Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity.) The process of repentance does change us in large structural ways but it also changes us in the details of our souls. Do you see small enough?
Hohenschwangau Castle, Bavaria
The best way to benefit from repentance is to choose to make corrections rather than having correction forced upon you by the circumstances.  Any person can choose to become more spiritual by designing a course of action that includes regular study, meditation and prayer.  Any person can choose to become more charitable by engaging in a service project that takes 20+ hours to complete. The choice to engage in faith-building activities is a choice to repent because changing from a habit of less engagement to one of more engagement entails progress.  Personal growth will happen and within a short time the new self will be significantly improved. As a mentor of youth, I often give them a set of exercises to do that will result in these kinds of changes.  Being young and easily influenced, they do the exercises without knowing why or how it will change them.  As adults, we are less likely to be mentored in this way, however we can learn from and adapt the programs designed for youth to our own purposes.  Begin today on a self-directed exploration of your faith and commitment to our Heavenly Father. I promise you it will be worth the effort.

Programs for Youth

This video is about why parents take a leadership role in mentoring kids spirituality

Image credits: All photos are in the public domain and available on Pixabay

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