So my husband and I have resolved to get fit and stay that way. Between you and me, I wish we could accomplish that goal without having to carve time in our schedule to exercise and without having to eliminate a few favorite goodies from our diet – ie: homemade cinnamon rolls. But alas, physical fitness doesn’t work that way.
Dropping weight and developing muscle requires intentionality, right? So—off we go to the gym at 5:30 AM whether we feel like it or not. Besides that, I have three accountability partners—I connect with two on a weekly basis and one on a monthly basis. Last month I joined a 12-week online Bible study/fitness program that meets on Wednesday mornings at 7 AM. I take a picture of my weight on the scale weekly and send it to the leader, and I record everything I eat. “You bite it, you write it,” she says. The combined efforts are paying off. I feel stronger than I’ve felt for years.
Frankly, if I had to keep up these disciplines for the sake of keeping up these disciplines, I’d lose my drive and momentum in no time flat. The only thing that propels me forward is my desire to be healthy, strong, and mobile now and well into old age. Focusing on the goal gives me the desire to do these things.
Spiritual health runs a close parallel to physical health. It, too, requires intentional action to achieve optimum well-being. Bible study, prayer, fasting, corporate and individual worship, acts of service, missions trips—the list of things we could do to grow spiritually seems endless. It also becomes burdensome if we focus on them only as things we “should do” to be a good Christian.
I’ve spent the past several weeks writing a proposal for a new devotional book. My plan is to focus the first 30 devos on God’s desire for intimacy with us. What an amazing journey it’s been for me to examine the Scriptures and find verse upon verse that reflect God’s love and passion for relationship with us.
Yesterday the thought of what God’s love for me cost Him overwhelmed me with gratitude and awe. I sat at my desk and raised my arms heavenward, thanking Him over and over for His grace and mercy in my life. I cried out, asking Him to open my heart so that I might experience greater intimacy with Him.
Greater intimacy with the Lord—the One who gave His all for me—is my goal. And that’s why I maintain spiritual disciplines. By making them a regular part of my day, they become a part of me and move me towards my desired end.
How about you? What spiritual disciplines do you foster to grow in your relationship with Christ? What do you do for Bible reading? Any patterns for prayer you care to share?