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I’m not one of those professional archers who shoot their bow year-round. I am a hunter who has to wipe the dust off of it during this time of year. I know this is the period where I have to begin shooting in order to feel comfortable in various hunting situations when deer season comes about. But it’s so hot right now. And because my wife is not too keen about me setting up an indoor range down the hall in my house, I am going to have to endure the August heat for a chance at October meat.
I wish that I could just grab my bow and pick up where I left off last year. I wish that I didn’t have to start all over at becoming proficient at 20 yards. I want to go straight to shooting small groups at 50 yards. But right now, I couldn’t hit an elephant at that distance. And then there are my weak muscles – the ones I need to hold the bow steady and the ones that I need to draw it back with. I guess what I’m saying is: If you don’t use it, you lose it.
I think that phrase is one of the first ones that I ever remember someone saying. It was always used to cause me to look at whether I was appropriating my God-given gifts and talents, or whether I was allowing spiritual atrophy to set in. (If I didn’t use them, I would lose them.) I have never forgotten that warning and have applied its truth to just about every area of my life. And it has never caused me to doubt its value.
In the physical things in life, I have found that I lose it quicker. This means I can’t allow as much time to pass as I perhaps once did. If it involves muscles, the older I get, the more likely it will be that I will lose it on a faster scale. In the spiritual world, it is somewhat different. While we do lose those things that we do not use, we can be assured that all of what we have come to know about God goes into a bank for future withdrawal. These truths are not stagnating, but are earning interest as we continue to live our daily lives. Then, just when we need it most, the Holy Spirit reminds us of one of the deposits we made, perhaps years ago, just for this particular purpose, and tells us that now is the time to apply it.
“Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.”
Gary Miller can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.