Each year, I take one week off from writing to help me refresh and reset. This is that week. To help you stay faithful to your daily devotional time, I’m bringing back a series I wrote a few years ago on disciplines we as Christians need to have. Enjoy and I’ll be back next week with all new devotions.
There are several parallels between physical exercise and being spiritually disciplined. Both require time, hard work and dedication. There is more to it than just wanting to do it. You must make being disciplined a priority or it will not get done. Weight loss and exercise are among the most common new year’s resolutions each year. Christians typically resolve to read the Bible more and to pray more. Resolving is good and we’ll see why in a minute. However, most people don’t maintain their resolutions because they are unprepared mentally and physically to achieve their resolutions.
It’s the same when it comes to spiritual disciplining. Many Christians aren’t mentally, physically or spiritually prepared to handle spiritual training. Their heart is in the right place, but their ability to carry it out lies in the battle of the mind. We end up where Paul was in Romans 7. In verse 21-23 he says, “I have discovered this principle of life – that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. (NLT)”. The first battle you need to win is the battle of the mind.
My sister in law recently ran a half marathon. I researched some things to help her and I discovered several things that apply to us who are training for Godliness. Like I said earlier, resolving is the first step. If you never make a resolution, you will never begin. The next thing is to be motivated. There is a difference in being motivated to start being disciplined and being motivated to keep going day after day, week after week. You must learn how to discipline your mind first.
David understood this principle well. He was referred to as a man after God’s own heart, yet he struggled all the time. Just because you struggle it doesn’t mean you don’t love God or that you aren’t a good Christian. It means that you’re human. Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. (NLT)” In Psalm 43:5, again David gets his mind prepared. He says, “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again – my Savior and my God! (NLT)”. He had to tell himself these things over and over.
You need to start each day talking to your self. Out loud. Seriously. Your mind, heart and soul need to hear you say, “This is the day the Lord has made. I WILL rejoice and be glad in it.” An article in “Psychology Today” says, “Practicing this technique reprograms the mind and body, allowing them to release unwanted habits and tendencies while supporting positive change. The mind is very powerful, and it needs to be spoken to.” If David did it, we should do it.
Tomorrow, we’ll look at setting spiritual goals and wearing the right gear.