2 Timothy 4:7-8 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me o the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
Roller coaster Christianity… on track for a while… slip back into old ways… feel guilty about it… get it all confessed and fixed… back on track for a while. Big highs, devastating lows; lots of twists and turns; fear and apprehension at what the next hill or turn may hold. Up, down; Up down; On, off. Hot, cold. Guilt, embarrassment, discouragement and frustration. Any of that sound familiar?
Do you long for a consistent, stable Christian walk? We all know that there are the occasional “bumps”, but would you like to get off the “roller coaster”? If yes, then we have to lose our impulsive nature and start developing a consistent, routine, structured and predictable lifestyle.
The world today breeds impulsiveness. We want it now. We want instant everything including Godliness. The desire to “walk the aisle” at church or make New Year’s promises to get our life fixed in one big sweeping moment is originated in our impulsive nature that wants results without sacrifice, blessing without discipline.
We want Godliness for three easy payments
on a Spiritual Visa Card.
We think short term. Right now. Today. Fast, quick, convenient. It is hard for us to think of any process or life that requires daily discipline and year after year of small incremental daily growth.
Impulsiveness is the killer of spiritual growth. Consistency is a day by day, step by step process that will take your whole life to develop. It cannot be created in a day or a week or a year. It is created with a moment by moment choice of your will to act in accordance with God’s will.
We have to determine to make a complete shift in our way of thinking. We have to starve our “short term” nature, and starting developing a “long term” mentality. Ironically, a long-term mentality is created with a day-by-day approach.
It’s the proverbial eating an elephant one bite at a time.
The impulsive Christian wants to swallow the elephant whole.
The impulsive Christian wants to fix everything in a short period of time with sweeping changes and promises. The extremely impulsive Christian wants to do everything to a SUPER level NOW. We want to have EVERYTHING right NOW. Impulsive Christianity (the old roller coaster) leads us to spiritual frustration and eventually discouragement because the day will come when we get sick of it and don’t even want to try anymore.
What is the cure for the thorn of impulsiveness?
- Discipline (doing the right thing despite feeling)
- Consistency (planning the right thing despite feeling)
- Routine (provides boundaries, security and predictability which lead to consistency)
- “Daily” living (quit trying to fix your whole life in one shot)
Let’s start with the last point because that is where it all begins. Don’t worry about fixing your WHOLE life. God is only concerned with what you do today. He’ll forgive you for yesterday, and only He knows if there will even be a tomorrow. God is the God of NEW BEGINNING every single day. You have a new chance to please God and grow close to Him every day, “pressing on towards the mark”.
Impulsiveness says “fix my whole life right now
and become super Christian for the rest of my life”.
Discipline says “Lord, what will you have me do today?”
Living on a day-by-day basis allows us to turn our failures into “bumps” instead of roller coaster hills. Now don’t miss this, its important. If you live your life one day at a time, then tomorrow you will only have, AT MOST, one day’s failure to deal with. Not six weeks, six months or six years worth. A bump instead of a mountain.
Okay, that’s great but most of us need something practical to sink our teeth into. I thought you’d never ask. Here are daily disciplines that will help you to begin to cultivate consistency and kill impulsiveness:
- Wake up at the same time every day if possible.
- Spend a minimum of the first hour or more of each day with God if possible.
- Confess your sins EVERY single day.
- As much as possible, create a daily routine.
- Pray and read the Bible with your family daily.
- Go to bed the same time every night so your body will become regulated to your morning schedule.
Let me touch on routine for a moment. Routine is boring and strictly out of style nowadays. We live in a pleasure-mad, fast paced, entertain-me-or-I-will-die world. Television, entertainment, movies, sports… our whole existence is based on what will entertain us next. God forbid you would ever be bored; or not be busy; or have to do anything monotonous; or not be able to just “shoot from the hip” every day and do whatever you feel like.
In my opinion, the lack of routine in our daily life is the number one killer of consistency and Christian growth. We have to “make time” for God instead of it being just a normal part of our daily life like eating or working. Routine creates boundaries; it prioritizes time; it trains the mind, body and heart to crave and expect what has become habit; it quiets the mind so you can meditate on God; it gives you security and peace.
1 Thess 4.10-12 But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.
2 Tim 2.2 that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
In closing, let me leave you with this final thought: You can’t have it all. That’s crucial to this whole issue. If you want God, you have to give up and sacrifice to get Him. Very simply:
Order your day around achieving your Godly objectives first…
… then prioritize your other responsibilities.
That’s it. Simple to say, excruciating to execute. You have to decide what you want the most.
Remember: Impulsiveness says “fix my whole life right now and become super Christian by tomorrow. I can have it all”. Discipline says “Lord, what will you have me do today?” Start with today. Do what God would have you TODAY. Then wake up in the morning, confess your sins and failures, get your marching orders for that day, and enjoy THE GOD OF NEW BEGINNINGS. Each day is a new day and new chance to please God and grow close to Him.
Lamentations 3:21-26: This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”
Lord, give us what we need to please You today, the faith to leave tomorrow in Your Hands, and the courage to forget about yesterday. Help us to live our lives in humble obedience to you, one day at a time. Amen.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?