“Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.” (2 Timothy 2:3-6 NIV)
Soldiers. Athletes. Farmers.
The common denominator?
Hard work. Discipline. Focus. Things our culture admires—from a distance. Because we would rather greet the returning soldier, cheer the athlete from the sidelines, and pick up a salad from the grocery store than serve, train, and plant ourselves.
‘Cause it’s hard.
The older I get, the more I battle laziness. Physically. Mentally. Spiritually. Yet Paul reminds me in Ephesians 6, I am a soldier, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” I need to have both my armor and my game on.
What kind of Christian soldier will I be?
Paul understood the difficulty of training. He shares his personal struggle with discipline:
Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training . . . we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly . . . No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9: 24b, 25a, c, 26a, 27)
What kind of spiritual athlete will I be?
Jesus speaks in John 15:8, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” Paul Harvey fleshed out what it takes to cultivate a harvest in a great piece called “So God Made a Farmer.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuzhwkaNC40
What spiritual harvest are you cultivating?
God calls me to discipline. This month, some friends and I begin a journey through Spiritual Classics: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups in the Twelve Spiritual Disciplines, edited by Richard Foster and Emilie Griffin. Celebration of Disciplines is another Foster book I like. I want to be a lean, fit believer, like Eric Liddell of Chariots of Fire fame.
Trained, in shape, disciplined.
Andy Andrews says, “Discipline is the ability to make yourself do something you don’t want to do to get a result you really want.”
What do you really want from your relationship with God?
Are you up for a challenge? Ask God about a training plan today.
Is your want-to strong enough to become your to-do?
What will remind you of your “really wants” and help you keep going?
Who is your accountability partner?
What’s your next step?
Do your spiritual goal setting as a family. Encourage one another and hold each other accountable. Share your struggles. Focus on the want-tos.
Check the Amazon store on my website for the books above.
Hard work. Discipline. Focus. Things our culture admires—from a distance. Click to tweet.
My desire is to be a lean, fit believer, like Eric Liddell of Chariots of Fire fame. Trained, in shape, disciplined. Click to tweet.
Andy Andrews says, “Discipline is the ability to make yourself do something you don’t want to do to get a result you really want.” Click to tweet.