1 Corinthians 9:26,27--Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
The sun was blinding as it reflected off the snow on the high plateau on which Denver sits. As I got into the car I wondered what it would be like driving without sunglasses. Automatically I reached up to grab the clutch that switches the car from park into drive. Instead the windshield was coated with cleansing fluid and the wipers did their dance across the glass. Oh! The rental car is not like my Ford Taurus. The clutch for the automatic transmission sits below and to my right. For the next two days I laugh as I continuously turn on the wipers—oh the power of habit!
When Jesus Christ becomes our Lord, we expectantly look for Him to change our lives and He does but not without our help. That foul language that punctuates our speech, the cigarette we naturally grab for, the temper that flashes to the surface with volcanic regularity . . . these habits do not immediately vanish when we climb into the vehicle with our Savior to drive where He wants us to go. We must make the conscious effort to say no to whatever is not right, to embrace that which pleases God. It takes time, effort, patience and faith to build godly habits. God wants us to be holy. We must be willing to make those decisions and take the heroic actions that result in obedience to the will of our Lord.
As I review my relationship with God I have found certain habits are indispensable.
1. Daily time invested in God’s Word. If I don’t read/study/meditate in the Bible each day, I miss a spiritual meal—holy nutrition. What is amazing is I may eat from the word today and not feel nourished. But a month later, the verses I read today the Holy Spirit may bring to mind exactly when I need them!
2. Daily time invested in prayer. If I don’t pray I can count on the fact that my stress level will go higher, my day will be more frustrating and I will feel disconnected from God. Conversely, if I pray, the trials that arise seem less annoying, I’m able to encourage others by my own uplifted spirit and I feel more in touch with the Lord.
3. Weekly accountability. Every week I give a grade to men I trust for how I did the last week in terms of my thought-life/moral purity. They in turn share how they did. Knowing I will be held accountable for my behavior reinforces my urge to live wisely.
4. Balance. Getting the right amount of sleep, spending quality time with my family, keeping the hours at work sane, all serve to help me grow! Without working to maintain balance chaos enters like the unwanted weeds in my garden.
5. Worship. There is something incredibly uplifting about gathering regularly with other Christians to fellowship and celebrate God. Without worship the very air I breathe seems stale.
I’m sure there are numerous other things that could be added to the list. The point is without establishing these essentials my spiritual life is as good as four-week old milk. By the grace of God, fight to establish what will deepen your love for God. By His mercy, resist anything that keeps you from pleasing your Savior! He’s your candoit!
. . . when we are born again, God does not give us a fully fledged series of holy habits, we have to make them; and the forming of habits on the basis of God’s supernatural work in our souls is the education of our spiritual lives.—Oswald Chambers in Grow Up Into Him
©2000 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)