“Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:7b-8
Am I being transformed?
This is an important question in the life of faith. If we are dedicating ourselves to following after Christ, to living a Christian life, then it should make a difference. Over time, our words and actions and attitudes should look more like his, characterized by the fruit that the Spirit produces – Love, Patience, Kindness, Self-Control.
So are we noticing any change in ourselves?
We can’t transform ourselves to be godly; only God can do that. But, if our goal is to be the presence of Christ in the world, then, just like a runner whose goal is to finish a marathon, we need to be in training for that goal.
Spiritual disciplines help us to do that; they put us in the position to hear and to be shaped and guided by God. But spiritual habits can be just as challenging to form as physical habits of diet and exercise.
If only there were a “Couch to 5K” plan for the soul!
Short of that, for those who would like to commit themselves to ‘Training’ rather than simply ‘Trying’ and would like some support and encouragement along the way, we will take this season of Lent to focus each week on a different spiritual discipline and learn to practice it together.
This week is for ‘warm up exercises’! Choose ONE or TWO of the following habits and practice it CONSISTENTLY this week. Our goal this week is not to do them all and check off all the boxes; our goal is to make spiritual discipline a consistent, intentional part of our regular routine.
- REST – Go to sleep at the same each night. Rhythm and rest are key factors in the spiritual life.
- READ – Choose one of the Gospels and read one chapter each day this week. Try to read it at the same time each day. The practice of reading the Gospels helps us to keep Jesus as the lens through which we see the world and helps us to make connections to God’s activity in it.
- REFLECT – Take a 15 minute walk outside each day, rain or shine. Take deep breaths. Notice beauty around you, whether in the woods, at the beach, or in the neighbor’s landscaping. Be reminded of God’s creativity and power.
- WRITE – Start a journal. Just as if you were training for a marathon, write down your goals each day and what you did toward them. Write about changes you notice or want to see; what you are hearing or learning from God and others.
Choose a practice that you can commit to do each day. One practice done consistently is more helpful than 2 or 3 done once in a while.
The hardest part is showing up! You’re already half way there!