Spiritual Training Cycle: Perspective (wk. 10/13)
Long before the first plate goes on the barbell or the first drop of sweat hits the mat floor. Long before someone checks out a gym on-line or starts to get recommendations on where they should work out. At a point in the life of everyone who begins a journey of physical fitness, something ignites a desire. The lives we live are birthed from our collective desires. In today’s culture, desire can have a somewhat negative connotation, almost like a guilty pleasure we know we shouldn’t have. When I say desire, I’m talking about your core motives. Your desires are the set of images, goals, and thoughts that drive the output of your life. For athletes, that output is known as discipline.
It’s funny to link desire and discipline in the same sentence because no doubt some of you were raised in a home where your desire did give way to discipline. Only it was punishment for something you did wrong. You desired to sneak out, so you were disciplined by being grounded. In the athletic mindset, discipline is not something that happens to you as a result of being bad or breaking the rules. Although burpees may feel that way sometimes. Discipline, or rather disciplines, are the ordered ways in which we live our lives. They are the practices, or habits, that fuel the journey to reach our desires.
Think of some of the disciplines you practice in pursuit of physical fitness. My biggest one this year has been consistency in the gym. And what a fight that is sometimes! But I know my best life comes from the discipline of consistency and so I make it a priority. For some of you, it’s the discipline of quality rest. When Netflix beckons or Instagram buzzes, it can be hard to shut it down for some quality shut eye. Rest, however, is essential to optimal performance, so you power off the TV or put your phone in sleep mode instead. For others of you, it’s the discipline of clean eating. Sugary sweets and crunchy carbs are powerful forces, but garbage in equals garbage out. Without these disciplines, you may consider yourself an athlete, but your life won’t reflect it. Fitness is the destination, and discipline is what gets you there.
In spiritual fitness, exercises such as prayer and Bible reading are part of our disciplines. But so are our emotions and attitudes. We “train” these by allowing the Spirit of God to develop new attitudes and emotions within us. Including humility. Humility is meekness, lowliness, and absence of self. It is an inward heart attitude that expresses itself outwardly in how we treat others and view ourselves. Humility is how we approach God. When we recognize that our selfishness and self-centered ways can’t be resolved on our own, we begin the journey of humility. As we become devoted to Jesus, His death and resurrection provides a full restoration to God, something we could never do ourselves. Humility is an essential discipline in living a godly life. It is freedom from pride. Without humility, you may consider yourself a follower of Jesus, but your life won’t reflect it. Shalom is the destination and humility is what gets you there.
Don’t think of humility as simply an attitude anymore. Think of it as a spiritual discipline, something you train and prioritize. Let it order the way in which you live your life. Let it lead you to put others before yourself, and give glory to God for all the great things in your life. This is how you pursue shalom.
Questions for Reflection:
How has God humbled you?
Think of someone in your life who has great humility. Other than “humble,” how would you describe them?