Over the last several weeks, I’ve been purposely working out to improve my fitness, mental clarity & stamina. It’s been nice this go around for lots of reasons & I’ve experienced some wonderful spiritual lessons:
Beginning is harder than maintaining: starting a spiritual discipline (daily prayer, consistent church attendance, Bible reading, fasting, etc) requires more effort than maintaining the discipline
Social fun: I’ve allowed people to be involved with my exercise & it’s been very enjoyable; the parallel holds true with spiritual growth as well – we need people in our lives on this spiritual maturity journey
Too rigorous: last week, I got a migraine largely because I was too hard on my body; in a similar way, let’s be careful to have a balanced spiritual walk in our daily living
With these suggestions, I pray that you grow spiritually & that your inner man is strengthened with the presence of the Holy Spirit – Eph 3:16 🙂
I like the sizzle. This means that stuff that’s fun, exciting, zingy & zesty catch my attention. I would suspect that possibly on occasion, you’ve also been attracted to stuff that sizzles. But it’s often true that sizzle stuff doesn’t always endure.
Regardless of the presence of absence of sizzle, what’s important is to stay the course & endure! Sizzles fizzle, but endurance wins the prize. I say this based on Mathew 25:23 where Jesus says, “Well done, My good & faithful servant.” Let’s remain faithful & steady regardless of the presence or absence of any sizzle!
” . . . . and the Lord brought about a great victory.” 2Samuel 23:12
I read this morning about some dude, Shammah, defending a field of lentils. Initially, a lentil field doesn’t sound like something to get really upset about, let alone turn into a major military engagement. But alas, Shammah picked the lentil field & that was his “line in the sand.” This verse also says that Shammah took his stand in the field, defended it & struck down the Philistines. After Shammah’s three actions, taking his stand, defending the field & striking the Philistines, God gave him a great victory.
It seems like we often want to know that God will give us a great victory before we make the commitment to a lentil field or put out the effort to fight for something.
Sometimes I think that God waits for us to be fully engaged & committed before giving us a great victory.
Might there be a few areas in your life to which you could increase your commitment so that God would provide a great victory? This is something worth considering today!
Alas, I’m sitting on the floor of the DMV again so there are no thrills & chills here at the moment. My number is 101 & they just called number 75, so it’s going to be awhile but I’ll keep this blog pithy 🙂
I like quick projects & exciting experiences. But it seems to me that life is more about the long-term outcomes than the short thrills & shallow frills. Here are some good things to consider about thinking in more long-term outcomes:
Steady effort creates habits which reinforce endurance
Repetition is a necessary ingredient for excellence
Muscle memory – this happens when we do things repeatedly & it gives us the freedom to learn more things
Incremental progress often lasts longer than speedy results
Let patience have her perfect work that you may be mature & complete #nuffsaid
Some of us do shock better than others. Some of us need an hourly stability infusion & others need a more steady supply of edgy & unpredictable. Seems to me that Jesus fits the bill for each of these mindsets & He gives us stability when we need it & unpredictable when that’s what’s necessary.
Consider that Jesus was the steady Eddy for His disciples & earned their trust being His continuous faithfulness to them. He was also a shocker from time to time:
The walking on the water thing completely freaked out His disciples – Jesus walking on the water was the last thing they expected to see at 3am in the middle of a storm!
The multiple resurrection appearances was seriously shocking – a wake up call for sure!
Jesus’ disappearance after the Emmaus road chat made those guys recognize the holy heartburn from their traveling conversation w Him
Let’s be clear that whether we’re in a discouraging storm, or we’ve endured a tragic loss or we can’t understand what God is going, Jesus is fully capable to continue doing supernatural & shocking things. Let’s keep our eyes peeled & hearts open to Jesus throughout this day!
We are on the homestretch with this lovely Christmas season & this makes me happy, today. There have been years when I found myself wrapping packages at 11:30pm on Christmas Eve, on the verge of an emotional meltdown, feeling overwhelmed with the work I still had to do and no time. Sometimes I can struggle with some procrastination challenges – hmmmmmm
Final countdown modes can help us be hyper-productive. But I think there’s better value in steady and consistent work than massive bursts of energy with stress and pressure.
Here are some things to think about for steady and consistent:
Let’s be consistent with love, particularly with the people who get on our nerves
Let’s be steady with healthy daily routines: eating, working out, drinking water, etc
Let’s stay consistent with growing and improving ourselves in wisdom
The most important thing for our consistency is maintaining our daily Bible & prayer time – nothing keeps us from drowning or being a victim to devotion than this discipline
One of my kids is very steady & generally unflappable. They don’t freak out easily & I love that they are so level. The other side is that they can also be stubborn & resistant to change. I’ll totally give you that not all change is good. But being hostile to change can prevent a person from growing, learning & maturation.
Let’s be people who get the good stuff out of being faithful & steady. But let’s also be people who can learn, adapt & grow! Seems to me that we become moribund & zombie-ish when we refuse to learn & change. If we are perpetually changing, however, we risk the danger of not being committed, the lack of roots & absence of fruit 🙂
It’s good to quit sometimes. Quit trying to do everything, quit putting yourself down, quit speeding, quit being afraid of decisions or change, etc. I think that Moses wanted to quit the whole liberating thing that God talked about with him when Moses’ first conversation with Pharoah made everything MASSIVELY worse for his fellow Israelites.
After Moses talked with Pharoah, Pharoah significantly intensified the Israelites workload & it probably seemed like Moses’ efforts backfired.
When I don’t get the results I want, I definitely think about quitting. Let’s be sure that we are obeying God from a heart of loyalty in our relationship with God rather than just for the results we want. Obeying God merely for results can be manipulative & manipulation doesn’t foster trust nor intimacy with God 🙂
But my family wishes I’d quit taking their pictures ,)
This is my daughters cell phone. We bought it for her about 16months ago & it has survived the following calamities: being dropped down an elevator shaft, dropped in a street intersection, going through an entire cycle in the washing machine & other minor traumas. Surprisingly, it still works & she continues to happily text & talk on it even though it’s been kind of roughed up.
Seems to me that sometimes our relationship with God gets some similar treatment. Sometimes we neglect God, accidentally drop God from our lives & put God through the wringer, so to speak. Nevertheless, God remains faithful, steady, loyal & devoted, all rich ingredients & descriptions of genuine love. Furthermore, God is continuously communicating extravagant love to us throughout each day, even when we might feel a little roughed up from life. You are very important to & deeply loved by God 🙂
I live in Denver & its snowing today – so beautiful & it reminds me of an important lesson!! When I was in Jr High, I wanted to be really good at basketball (a winter sport) & I knew that I needed to practice ALOT – I wasn’t very good at all. Nevertheless, I remember going to the neighbors house with the basketball hoop & shoveling their driveway LOTS of times so that I could practice layups, etc. I made it a habit that I would shoot no less than 1-2 hours a day after school everyday, no matter what the weather was. I was totally into basketball & was committed to getting better! I did get better but clearly didn’t go on to be any kind of a basketball star. Nevertheless, I walked away from this time in my life with the firm conviction that improvement & progress toward a goal requires steady & consistent persistence.
In my life today, I don’t have the luxury of massive amounts of discretionary time. So the way I look at this idea of steady & consistent persistence in my current life is to do something everyday related to the goal that I’m trying to accomplish. Some days I make huge progress & some days I just make a little, but its progress nonetheless. So keep shoveling! ,)