You may have noticed that I’m not terribly good at consistent motivation. Once I build a habit, I’m good to go! Case in point. This morning I brain drafted this post while I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, made the beds and started laundry. My brain was in another place because my body was used to doing all those other things out of habit. I don’t even really think about it. As a matter of fact, I don’t even really care too much about those other things. I just do them because they are habits.
Our two weeks are up on our review of “what we believe” and this past Wednesday I asked two questions of my class. I would read a line of the Creed and ask, “Do you believe this?” After the nods came the dreaded, “Why?” I was quite the two-year old with that second one! But why? What’s the proof? How do you back yourself up?
Yesterday during worship I scooted back to my old Back Row Baptist roots and sat at the back of the church and watched the congregation. I kept asking myself why? Why am I here right now? Am I here for worship? Am I hear to learn? Am I here because I was on volunteer duty this morning? Am I here because I want to be here?
Am I here because it’s my habit?
When I was younger that time you spent with your Bible, prayer and God was called “doing your devotions.” Out of curiosity I hit up my dictionary app on my phone (yes, I have a dictionary app!) and looked up that word.
1. Profound dedication; consecration
2. earnest attachment to a cause, person, etc.
3. an assignment or appropriation to any purpose, cause, etc.
4. religious observance or worship; a form of prayer or worship for special use.
A few words stood out from that for me – “profound, earnest, and special” in particular. I don’t know that those words would ever be associated with any of my habits. They take a deeper meaning than something I do by rote.
But “devotions” is the old word for it. Now we call it “quiet time.” You can’t even look that phrase up in the dictionary app. It’s even vaguer than devotions. I mean quiet time can be just turning off all the apps, radio, TV and any other noise and sitting still waiting for God to “hollah!” Quiet time seems to be one of those things that we can squeeze in a few minutes here and there.
Now let’s go antique for a minute. How about “spiritual discipline?” When was the last time you used that phrase in association with your personal worship?
1. training to act in accordance with rules; drill
2. activity or exercise or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training
3. the rigor or training effect of experience, adversity, etc.
Or what about the verb form?
1. to train by instruction or drill
2. to bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control
Oh wow! What if that was the “why” behind our worship? What if we were really in it to train our behaviors, attitudes, and outlook? I’m not good at self-discipline. Just look at the log of my gym attendance – sporadic is a better word! What if I DID approach the Bible and prayer and worship with the desire for discipline?
1 Timothy 4:7-10
But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially believers.
Discipline holds a worth beyond me and beyond now. Discipline paves the path for this life and the next and sets the example for those to come.
So what IS your why? Why do you worship? Is it a surface level, squeeze it in quiet time, a time of devotion or are you seeking discipline? I send my prayers with you as you journey on a path toward discipline. May it take you deeper and plant you stronger as you go!