I've got a secret. I am a creature of habit. I do the same thing over and over again. When I joined Weight Watchers in 1994 I used to alternate my lunches between Subway, with their turkey subs, and Wendy's Salad bar. It was my routine. It worked for me. I lost weight.
The same is true for me at the gym. I have a regular workout. I hop on the treadmill two to three times a week. I substitute the elliptical trainer once a week. Every once in a while I jump on the stationary bike just to mess with my muscle memory. It works for me.
Since last summer I have added light weights to build up and tone my muscles. My friend, Arthur, showed me several exercises. I've been doing them ever since. I'll never have six pack abs but I hope to remain healthy and active for a long time. My A1C is rocking it.
Life is easier when you develop regular patterns in the things you do. You don't have to think about it. You just do it. Now I go to the gym and jump into my routine. Yet, every once in while, something happens. It throws you off. For me it was seeing Arthur.
He was doing his workout. It's been a while since I worked with him. I sat down to begin. Instead of reaching for the usual twenty pound weight, I grabbed the thirty pound dumbbell. Why? I guess I wanted to impress him. I grabbed it to say, "Look at what I can do now!"
Almost immediately I put the heavier weight back and started chuckling to myself. Why do we have this need to impress others? We do it with our faith too. We pretend we don't have problems. We act like we have it all together. We talk like following Christ is easy. It's not.
It's like my workout. It takes time. It takes effort. The good news is that we aren't competing with others. They may share what they do but God doesn't call us to be better than them. He simply calls us to be faithful. To be a Christian is to strive to be more like Jesus day by day.
There is a saying: "Practice makes perfect!" So what can you add to your spiritual workout? Decide and then make it a habit. Do it again and again until it becomes a part of you. That's the secret of a disciplined spiritual life. Do it long enough and it will come to you naturally.
God bless! See you in church.
The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church of Westerly.