I was thrilled by the thrumming beats, rippling notes, and cascading sounds of The Piano Guys.
They created a memory of music to delight me for years. We would leave the concert three hours later and drift with the crowd toward exits to carry us back to the lifeless parking garage and a mundane world.
Not a sheet of music, not an iPad full of notes, and nary a single metronome ruled The Piano Guys’ concert. How did the four musicians perform so flawlessly and with such contagious abandon? The answer lies within the fibers of our muscles. It is called muscle memory. And the miracle of muscle memory exhibited its strength mightily during that magnificent menagerie of melodies that offered such pleasure during the concert.
Muscle memory is the treadmill of musical miracles. According to the Oxford English Living Dictionary, it is defined as “the ability to reproduce a particular movement without conscious thought, acquired as a result of frequent repetition of that movement.” The key is repetition. The musicians hopped on a repetition treadmill until they could play their unique music effortlessly. Their actions did not require conscious thought.
God has masterfully designed us to need and desire repetition because it brings us a great sense of fulfillment when we accomplish our goals. And repetition aids us abundantly in serving the Lord.
To emphasize its importance, God created a world full of identical plants, animals, and scenery. Ripples in water, cascading notes of birdsong, and the stunning symmetrical feathers in a peacock, all reflect the creative genius of God.
He also places this pattern in the Bible. Repetition is like a beacon from a lighthouse, piercing spiritual darkness with scriptural truths.
One of the most fascinating examples is the repetition of barrenness in the stories of Bible women. In seven stories filled with the tragedy of childless women (Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, wife of Manoah, Hannah, Michal, and Elizabeth), God strengthens His message of hope, purpose, and a sense of eternity through their lives.
One might question why, in a God-breathed book with over 783,000 words intended to nurture Christians for thousands of years, God repeats Himself. But as we follow the beam of light in the stories of barren women, we discover at least one reason. The multiple times that barrenness occurs in Scripture points to the spiritual analogy found in 2 Peter 1:8:
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.`2 Peter 1:8 KJV
The repetitive word picture points to the tragedy of barrenness, capturing the despair of women who can’t produce fruit from their wombs. Then God embeds 2 Peter 1:8 into our hearts when He tells us not to be spiritually barren. He first prepares us with these stories about physical barrenness to show us the tragedy of becoming spiritually barren. Our faith withers when we don’t feed it the nutrients found in 2 Peter 1:5-7:
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.~2 Peter 1:5-7 KJV
Eventually, fruit fades as the knowledge of Jesus disappears and the world’s philosophy corrupts (2 Peter 2:20). When we don’t feed our lives with the knowledge of Jesus Christ, we become spiritually sterile (Galatians 5:22-23), which also weakens our witness. However, as we follow the instructions in 2 Peter 1:5-7, spiritual fruitfulness returns, restoring in us the bountiful fruit of the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Bible richly saturates its pages with repetition of words, story themes, concrete objects, people, backdrops, and other repetitions awaiting our discovery. Like practicing music, we benefit from searching for spiritual transformation through multiple mentions. Like musicians, we need to study, compare Scripture, and develop spiritual muscle memory.
As the concert closed, the musicians bowed and exited. But the thunderous applause demanded one last song. And they returned, repeating many notes but with such variety, skill, energy, and video technology that the music would fill our ears and hearts for years. Their muscle memory acquired through the treadmill of repetition rippled with strength. And we were lavishly blessed with the result of their repetition.
Since repetition in the Bible reveals spiritual truth, why do you think “love” is repeated?
Lord God, develop in me spiritual muscle memory. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Copyright 2022: Spiritual Muscle Memory: Marlene Houk: All Rights Reserved