In these first few weeks of August, the focus for many in our community will be the return to patterns or habits that revolve around school. Five-year-olds will experience elementary school for the first time. Seniors will rise up as key leaders in their high schools. College students will come to town with their sights set on a career choice. Gone are the summer “sleep-in” days, lounging by the pool, and the yearly break in routine.
Maybe you aren’t in this stage in your life. But either way, this could be a good season to remind us all to reclaim healthy spiritual habits, just as those returning to school are pressing reset on their schedules and priorities.
The spiritual principle behind this can be found in I Timothy 4:7 – 8 which says, “…Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way…” (ESV). Growing in Christ requires healthy, ongoing habits that the Scripture relates to “training.” This word that Paul uses for training, “gymnazo,” means to exercise vigorously. In this case, we are being encouraged to exercise our soul in regular and challenging ways. I would venture to say there is no other path to spiritual growth. I like the way Donald Whitney puts it in his book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, when he says, “I’ve never known a man or woman who came to spiritual maturity except through discipline. Godliness comes through discipline” (p. 17).
Might I suggest some practical ways to build healthy spiritual habits and disciplines into your life in the near future? Here are a few:
- Re-commit to reading A Chapter A Day if that has fallen off.
- Wake up 15 minutes earlier each morning to spend some dedicated, quiet time with the Lord.
- Commit to memorizing one or two verses per week.
- Evaluate your giving, and increase it in a sacrificial way.
- Step into an area of ongoing service, either in an area of passion or an area of need.
- Pick up a few books on spiritual growth to read over the coming months.
- Give fasting a shot.
By God’s grace, Ingleside can be a church filled with people who vigorously pursue spiritual habits. I know that would glorify the Lord, and benefit us in the process!
In the Spirit,