Before Church 10/13/2019
by Elizabeth Stone
Therefore brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh, and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He Who promised is faithful And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. ~ Hebrews 10:19-25
I sat down to a piano piece, Beethoven’s Sonata in G Major (Opus.49, No. 2), which I had memorized for a recital when I was. . . well, a long time ago. Eight pages not including repeats, and I experienced: muscle memory. As the notes swam in and out of my field of vision, my fingers took over and just played the music, not perfectly, but with the rhythm and melody of greeting an old friend, one long missed but much loved, and I was surprised at how well it sounded after forty plus years. It was as if my brain was trying to keep up with my hands, not vice versa. And I thought, spiritual disciplines are like this. We create spiritual muscle memory when we make a practice of prayer, of Bible Study, of worship, of fellowship.
Hebrews teaches us that having faith assurance, keeping our confession of Christ vibrant, remembering our baptism are the foundation of our hope; signed, sealed and delivered by Jesus, the One Who is faithful and Who promised. Creating spiritual muscle memory comes from prayer, from worship with other believers, from sharing Gospel truths in our own quiet time and in fellowship, from encouraging one another, stirring one another up to love and good works, and making it a habit to meet together with other Christians. Habits become routines, and routines kick in and help us when life gets crazy. And just like our muscles remember playing an old piano piece, or riding a bike, our spirits are built to retain the truth and patterns created by our habits of spirituality, our practices of faith. If we are faithful to believe and to keep active with our prayer and devotions and worship, when we need it most our spiritual muscles will take over and will guide our minds. What habits of faith do you practice? What habits do you need to create? What routines do you need to bring back into your life? Spiritual muscle memory is created with practice, practicing the principles of faith.