The second baseman fielded the routine ground ball cleanly as he had done thousands of times before but the throw to first base was anything but routine.  In fact, it went high over the first baseman’s head into the stands and hit a fan.  Chuck Knoblauch was an all-star, rookie of the year, World Series winner and a great fielder, but was becoming the poster child for the yips.  Yips is the sudden and unexplained loss of fine motor skills in athletes of many sports.  The recovery is difficult and often not successful.  Chuck was never able to correct it and was soon out of baseball.

Sometimes we witness spiritual yips in fellow Christians.  People who have been rock-solid believers for decades seem to lose interest in worshipping with the saints and drop out of fellowship.  More often than not the spiritual yips are more of a gradual process than the physical kind.  The cause may also be easier to discover and even cure, than the physical yips.

Even though the Christian with yips has attended, sang, prayed and taught lessons in the church for years, somehow the devil convinces him/her that it is just a waste of valuable time or that one is missing out on lots of fun and other activities.

As always, God’s word is the place to look for the cure for spiritual ailments. (2 Tim 3:16-17) Paul tells us that “all who live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (and temptation). (2 Tim 3:12)  So we need to “fix our eyes on Jesus, (Heb 12:2) “more and more,” (1Thes 4:1) pray without ceasing and feed off the joys of fellow Saints. (Ja 1:2) (1Thes 5:16)  We also need to enlist our best ally, The Holy Spirit, to strengthen us in times of weakness. (1Thes 5:19) (Eph 3:16)

Unfortunately, as in the physical, recovery may be long and painful.  If we see and recognize the yips in others or ourselves, it will be valuable to revisit truths we have long known. (2 Tim 3:15) Study again the verses about heaven and our eternal salvation there rather than dwell on the temporary pleasure of sin that are so short-lived. (Rev 22:3-5)  Don’t let the yips sink our ships!


—-Jim Bailey