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Even a Good Hand Can Miss Their Loop

Summer '13

Practice doesn’t make perfect, just gets us closer to it.

The Ranch Horse Association of America Finals were held recently in Abilene in conjunction with the Western Heritage Classic Ranch Rodeo.

The RHAA Finals consist of two go ‘rounds. The top five competitors from each class compete in a Final class to crown the champion. If you’ve never watched a ranch horse competition, it’s pretty easy to explain. Exhibitors have five minutes to complete the elements of a reining pattern (to show control of the horse), cow work, and a roping segment in which the rider is allowed two loops. If the rider misses, he or she still receives an overall score. However, they do not receive credit on the roping portion. It would be like taking the exam and answering the true/false and multiple choice questions but skipping the essay portion.

As I have watched several of these competitions over the years, there are a few individuals that stand out from the crowd. Some of these riders seem like they never miss in the roping segment. However, just like there were masters in composition of music that missed a note or two, cowboys and cowgirls can miss both of their loops.

It’s a crushing feeling, I’m sure, to lay down a good run on all aspects of the competition and to come to that point and miss on the roping portion. In our walk as Christians sometimes, we have a great run going and then, all of a sudden, we come down to that crucial point where temptation enters and rears its head.

We’ve handled it before. We know the target. We know we can catch because we’ve done it before. We have our loop built. Our horse is tracking good. Our target is lined out. If we catch … another victory in our walk. If we miss … temptation results in sin.

What do we do? John, one of the apostles, said it this way in 1 John 1:8-2:2 (NIV):

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Jesus is our advocate, not our performance. Thank God it’s not up to your or my performance. However, just like when you’ve missed both of those loops in competition, what do you do? Go back and practice more. Rope the dummy some more. After confessing, we go right back to the practice pen, read some more, pray some more, be led by His Spirit more. That way the next time temptation enters in we’ll be able to rope the mark … the mark of righteousness and holiness.

Don’t forget to spend some time practicing this week. I’ll see y’all out in the pasture!

Featured Image by Tommy Voelcker / V Photography.