“The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.” -Tom Bodett
Have you ever read the back of a shampoo bottle before? I did once. It actually had directions on it! They said, “Lather, Rinse, Repeat.” How odd, I thought, wouldn’t the shampoo be strong enough to do the job the first time? Why repeat?
Several years later I read somewhere that some marketing guy came up with the idea to put those instructions on the bottle of shampoo. His idea was considered folly until the end of the fiscal year showed a 30% increase in shampoo sales! Of course then he was hailed as a genius. I still don’t know why it worked, but apparently people believe what they read on the back of shampoo bottles. After all, why would your shampoo lie to you?
There are times in life when I’ve felt like I was reading the back of the shampoo bottle, spiritually speaking. Lather, Rinse, Repeat… and repeat and repeat and repeat until the lesson is learned. God keeps us cycling through lessons until we master them. For example, have you noticed how forgiveness is not a one-time shot? You have to deliberately forgive someone and let go of hurt feelings over and over again until it becomes second nature to you.
You have to flex those spiritual muscles over and over, building up their strength, concentrating on your form, until those spiritual movements are habits. Forgiveness, tithing, prayer, a devotional life, taking captive every thought, not lusting, not coveting, not gossiping… all of these spiritual actions take training. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
Having to repeat a life lesson because you just didn’t learn it the first time around is not something to be ashamed of, it’s just how us humans learn. Practice makes perfect in the spiritual realm too. Anything worth learning is worth repeating until you have it down perfectly. Forgive 70×7. Capture and return stray thoughts to God a hundred times a day if you have to. Bounce your eyes away from lust inducing images over and over again. Repent as many times as necessary.
If Jesus told us to forgive our brother 70×7 then how much more is our Heavenly Father disposed to forgive us over and over when we fail and fall short, but want to keep trying. Do it again. Repeat the lesson again. You haven’t mastered it yet. I want you to nail this one. Try again. And again. And again.
Repeating lessons over an over is like Father God running next to our bicycle as we learn to ride without training wheels. We fall, he picks us up again and sets us back on the bike. Try again, Child. He is our patient, loving Father. He gives us chances to repeat lessons because he loves us and wants us to succeed, not to punish us. This is for our good. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
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