Am I Spiritual Yet?
I did something this morning that I do not recommend to anyone reading this. I awoke at 5:00 AM, got dressed, left the house, and drove myself to a 5:30 AM workout. It’s just as horrible as it sounds. Heading to the workout, I was thinking to myself how much better I would feel if I had just stayed in bed. During the workout, I still didn’t want to be there and plotted ways to leave early. Somehow, I got through the workout and as soon as it was over, my immediate thought was, “I can’t wait to do this again tomorrow!” Before you think I’m weird, I can almost guarantee you that if I do actually wake up at 5:00 AM tomorrow, the cycle of emotions will repeat themselves again. It’s going to take months of consistency in this routine before I will be at a place of tolerating my own decision to put myself through this special kind of torture.
I was reminded this morning on my drive back home that our time in prayer and Scripture is often a very similar pattern. We somehow think that because we decided the night before that we were going to wake up at the crack of dawn to spend time with Jesus that everything will fall into place and we will have an almost euphoric quiet time. As if following Jesus didn’t require an incredible amount of discipline and consistency. None of us expect that after one workout we will all of sudden love working out. Neither do we think that our junk food cravings suddenly vanish after one salad at lunch. Why do we think that after one hour of personal devotions, we suddenly become a super Christian who can’t wait until that morning alarm disturbs our slumber so we can be with our Lord again?
Paul once said, “I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27). It almost sounds like Paul was launching a CrossFit gym in the wilderness with that kind of language. But Paul understood what many of us seemingly don’t - the pursuit of holiness and the process of sanctification requires extreme patience and discipline. It does not happen overnight. But somewhere along the way as we maintain our gaze on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) and continue “working out our salvation” (Philippians 2:12), we begin to see lasting results and true spiritual change.
I know this isn’t some revolutionary new idea, but I needed this short reminder in my own life today, so maybe you needed it too.