“The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation.” — Psalm 33:11 (NASB)
A Discipline worth Adopting
As a young boy I had always been gifted with athletic ability that made my life as a kid full and rewarding. I received numerous trophies and accolades. I played all the major sports baseball, basketball, football and track but as I grew older I began to warm the bench in all of the sports except football. Rather than be a bench warmer I gradually dropped all of the sports except football. I worked very hard and success followed with a full scholarship. The confidence I gained from being a good athlete and a good student has helped carry me through the years.
Grandson Clay came along years later. As a youngster he played baseball and was average at best. When he got to middle school he decided to try out for football. I thought, he is so little and knows virtually nothing about the game. Why is he going to do this? But to my surprise he was there at practice every day working his tail off. He never started a game but was always there holding dummies and doing all the drills at practice. Sometime around his junior year, he verbalized his frustrations to his mom and dad in such a way that led me to believe he might quit. But he didn’t. Day after day, he remained in the gym, working out, eating right, avoiding late parties and steering clear of anything that might keep him from optimum performance. Initially, watching him with painful muscle soreness and waking up before sunrise for daily practices that might never result in game-day execution appeared foolish. “If they aren’t putting you in the game,” I thought, “why put in the effort?”
Later, I realized that he understood something I didn’t: On days when he felt overlooked or unmotivated, it was the discipline of preparation that would have to carry him through when feelings didn’t offer the incentive. Consistency, when doubt cast its darkest shadow, was going to be a requirement if he wanted to remain primetime ready. Now I know that his work ethics and dedication will carry him through the future. I was so proud the day the coaches honored him with a letter jacket and shook his hand.
As a believer, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we always felt like praying and drawing near to God through His Word? Sadly, this is not likely a reality.
Even the 21st century dating scene reinforces the notion that all relationships are expendable, and when passion has run its course, we’re free to abandon ship. Everywhere we look, we are encouraged to let our feelings dictate our decisions and drop out of what no longer serves us.
But anyone with a relationship or career of any sort, with any longevity at all, will tell you that “feeling giddy with butterflies” all the time is unrealistic.
This is why, in complete contrast, our Father provides a different perspective. Psalm 33:11 (NASB) says, “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation.” If that doesn’t scream, “I am committed to you regardless,” I don’t know what does!
Wouldn’t it also be beautiful if we too could remain disciplined in our pursuit for more of Him? Not because He is a demanding God, but instead because He’s a loving Dad who has commissioned us to consistently “rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
We get to have a relationship with a personal Father who craves engagement with us whether things are going on … or not. Unlike a careless coach or a flaky lover, He will never leave us benched.It’s why I would argue that the times when we least feel like praying, or immersing ourselves in His Word, are likely the times we ought to do it the most. Even if for no other reason than to maintain the discipline. Because today, like every day, your Dad wants you to abide in Him (John 15:4) with or without the immediate reward and tickle in your belly.
Don’t wait to “feel it.” Make spending time with Him your routine until your routine becomes a habit. Then let your habit become a joy. Whether on a good day or a bad day, the worst day or the best, engage with Him when you feel like it and engage with Him when you don’t.Because that’s one discipline worth adopting.
Offered by Bill Trotter
Credit to Sports Spectrum