This past Christmas,
Santa … I mean my husband … was a great listener. I had only mentioned once that a watch that tracked the time and distance of a leisurely outdoor run would be nice. So of course, what did I find near my stocking Christmas morning but a new watch to help me with just that. Now, I have the watch to accompany the workout pants I received last year, running shoes, new headbands and the no-sweat shirts I’ve acquired over this past year to become a great runner.
Spiritual Sprints Take Devotion … Not Stuff
As I began reflecting on the upcoming new year and how I would use my nice Christmas gift, I realized that my spiritual situation isn’t all that different than that of my physical exercise and quest to become a runner. I desire to be close to the Lord; to discern His voice and His will for my life. I’ve got a shelf full of books to draw me near to Him. I’ve got a Bible in every room and then some. I have prayer journals, cards with verses on them, home decor with Christian sayings and an app on my phone with scripture. Not to mention I have the opportunity to worship publicly and freely each Sunday morning, a life group that keeps me accountable each week and Godly friends who pray for me and encourage me.
Except I’ve found that I’m in the same situation here.
Having the Christian “stuff” isn’t going to draw me any closer to God; just like having the running “stuff” doesn’t automatically make me a runner.
It’s going to take self-discipline to spiritually grow.
Spiritual Growth Takes Self Control
As Christians, and especially believers living in the Western world, we can so easily get caught up with the “stuff” and think that just because we have it, we’re good to go. And while most of us know that it’s not enough to just own a Bible, we need to read it – how many of us really do? Or how many of us really dive in and take the steps to spiritually grow, not just have the stuff to get by. I know I’m guilty.
There’s a reason the last fruit of the spirit is self-control. In a culture of busyness and distractions, it’s easy to shrug off spending time with the Lord. It’s all too convenient to read a verse and call it “good” for the day, or to own a devotional book and think that’s enough, yet never take the time to read nor reflect on its promptings. And while I’m not saying there are those days sometimes where that’s all you can do (I’m a new mom – I totally get it…) I am saying that most of us are desiring more out of our relationships with the Lord. And that’s not going to come through a trip to the Christian bookstore, but actual time spent in the Word, worship and in prayer. It’s going to take getting on our faces before God.
In a season of resolutions, I’m learning that it’s going to take self-control this year to grow spiritually, not just my arsenal of stuff to get me by. And that same drive is what it’s going to take to get me on the path of physical fitness, too. I’ve been blessed abundantly with the gear to get me there, it’s just a matter of actually taking the first steps and getting in stride.