You Can't Cheat Consistency

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

You can't cheat consistency. Whether it's in developing a new skill, learning a language, getting stronger and fitter, or building a long-term meaningful relationship with someone; there are is not substitute for consistent training & routine practice.

The same is true of discipleship. You can't create spiritual strength, learn to skillfully handle the word of God, or develop a rich long-term relationship with him without some consistent habits. And there are two habits that rise to the top for their usefulness: Prayer and Bible reading.

I know that preachers seem to harp on these two spiritual disciplines a lot, and many believers become frustrated with the repetition of these simple admonitions. But there's a reason for the repeated encouragement: these habits work. And it is this author's belief that the reason why many believers become frustrated with it is because they are looking for a cheat—some way to circumvent the consistency that is required for these habits to really achieve their greatest effect. The complaint almost never comes from saints who already have consistent habits of prayer and Bible reading. In fact, they are typically all the more enthusiastic in encouraging others to take up these same routines, because their lives and their faith are a testament to the effectiveness of consistent reading and prayer.

So don't discount the power of these simple activities. Make a point of practicing them daily; consistently. And let God's Spirit do his work in you. God may use additional channels to give increase to your faith as well, but if you want to purposefully cultivate spiritual growth in yourself, remember: You can't cheat consistency.

- Dan Lankford, minister

High-Intensity Spiritual Moments

Sunday, July 24, 2022

"As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple... When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the LORD on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD." (2 Chron. 7:1, 3)

It was the grand opening of the Temple—a place for God's people to approach his presence for forgiveness and worship. What a day! There were big crowds, the excitement of new things, festivities and feasts, great speeches and important teachings... and then God's presence was actually seen among them! It must have been an intense moment of spiritual excitement for them; one that they went home from with rich feelings of devotion and passion for their God.

I have had moments like those in my life, and many other Christians have too. As believers, we love the times when our spirits are reinvigorated and we feel a renewed sense of urgency about serving God. They are times when our passion for faithfulness swells to new levels, and we ought to thank him for those times. They are a joy and a privilege; a blessing given by God, often just at the moment when we need it most. Those moments are a gift for which we should be grateful!

Right on the heels of all of that, it's wise for us to think and answer this question: When the high-intensity feelings are gone, how will we continue to walk with God in the more mundane elements of daily life? This question deserves an answer because newness wears off of everything, crowds eventually go home, and normal life eventually has to resume its daily course. So when all of that happens and spiritual life is back to being normal life, will we still exhibit the same faithfulness to God?

High points and daily routines both have their rightful place in Christian life, as long as handle them faithfully. The spiritual highs remind us of the scale and splendor of God's power and they draw us toward him. And daily, 'normal' devotion gives us the ability to enjoy those high points without depending on them. It's the ability to balance both of these elements of Christian life that helps us live the fullest Christian experience.

So, if you're in a season of life where you're experiencing awe and excitement in Christ, enjoy it. Maybe you're learning the truth for the first time, maybe you're building brand new relationships, or maybe you're getting great spiritual experiences like Bible college or camp that rejuvenate your spirit. If so, enjoy them and thank God for them! And if you're in a season of life where you're putting in the daily work of discipleship, keep at it. Keep seeking him, keep growing, and keep following Jesus ever more closely.

- Dan Lankford, minister