Monday, April 24, 2017

Creature of Habit

Six days a week I get up before everyone else in my home and go workout in my garage. Recently I noticed an interesting trend. Each day I sit on the couch in my living room and put my socks and shoes on before heading out the door. I recently noticed though that every time I sit down I promptly put my left leg on my right knee and put my sock and shoe on. Then I cross my legs the opposite way and put my right sock and shoe on. Now that may not seem very interesting on the surface but it is when you consider the fact that I do it every time I put my socks and shoes on. I mean every time! I started paying attention any time I put my shoes on and every time it was like a version of Groundhog Day going on right in front of me. I have tried figuring out why I have the unusual habit but I can't figure it out. I've always known that I was a creature of habit, but this one has taken me by surprise.

Whether we want to admit it or not, we are all creatures of habit to some degree. We prefer to stay up late or get up early. We prefer our coffee just a certain way. We use a certain amount of salt on our french fries. If you were to think about your daily routines, you'd quickly find on some level you are a creature of habit. 

When it comes to your spiritual life, it pays to be a creature of habit. When you develop healthy spiritual habits, you receive greater spiritual rewards than you would otherwise. When you are in the habit of worshiping God in His house on Sundays, regardless if it is 75 degrees and sunny outside or raining cats and dogs, you find that your worship experiences impact you all the more. When you are in the habit of spending time in God's Word (the Bible) each day, you find that God is able to speak to you about the issues you face and provide you with strength. When you are in the habit of spending time in prayer each day, you find that God is able to work in your life to mold you to resemble His Son. When you are in the habit of serving God, you find that you are reminded that this life isn't about you, but it is about showing God's love to others. When you are in the habit of giving to God as He expects, you will find that God is able to use your finances in a greater way than you ever did by yourself.

Being a creature of habit is not always a bad thing. When it comes to practicing spiritual disciplines that will help you grow as a believer in Christ, the best thing you can do is become a creature of habit.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Planting Season

I would probably say that the spring planting season is my favorite time of the year. This is the time of the year when the garden is plowed, ripped, and tilled to prepare for this year's garden. As the weeks progress, you see small rows of green plants starting to peek out of the ground. Some plants, started weeks ago, are transplanted to their new home in the garden or a raised bed. This time of year holds untold possibilities for the coming harvests later in the year.

The success of the planting season is not found so much in the planting season itself as it is the months to come. The real success is determined over the weeks and months after the seeds are planted. If you plant the seeds and never till or hoe around the plants, then weeds can easily grow up around your plants and choke them out. If rain doesn't fall for weeks on end, then plants can dry up and be ruined. If varmints, like deer, raccoons, and groundhogs, get into a garden, they can decimate a crop in a hurry. Plenty of rain, fertilizer, and warm temperatures can have the exact opposite affect on a garden. Gardens that are regularly watered and kept free from common problems can produce a bountiful harvest.

The planting we do with spiritual seeds in our spiritual life are just as fragile and can be just as bountiful as a vegetable garden in your yard. If the soil of your soul is not plowed and tilled to receive the seeds that need to be planted, then those seeds will never take root. I think a guy named Jesus said something similar one time (Matthew 13:1-23). We have to put the work in to make sure our hearts are ready to receive the seeds God wants to plant in us. Once we plant spiritual seeds, let's call them truths, into our hearts, then we have to tend to them so they might take root and grow to be strong spiritual truths in our lives. If we don't do the work to get rid of the weeds in our spiritual hearts, those truths we've planted will get choked out and never impact our life. If we don't water the seeds of truth with the life-giving waters of prayer, Bible study, service, giving, and worship, then those truths will shrivel up and die. If we allow the varmints of sin to attack those truths we've planted, then they will root out and decimate your spiritual crop.

If you take great care of the spiritual truths you plant in your heart, then you will reap a bountiful harvest. Some of that harvest will be like fresh vegetables picked at the peak of the growing season when they are the ripest. You'll enjoy those truths being harvested from time to time in your daily walk. Others will be enjoyed at harvest time, when you have grown in your faith and you have an abundance of the truths impacting your life. Finally, others will be experienced in the coldest days of a spiritual winter. Like a jar of green beans canned in the middle of the summer and enjoyed on a cold January day, the truths you plant and nourish will one day sustain you when your aren't sure what else you can rely on.

I hope today's post has encouraged you to do what is necessary to plant spiritual truths, tend to them, and harvest them in your walk with God.

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