Good intentions, that is what I had, lots of good intentions. I intended to work out, intended to eat better, and intended to get myself fit for months. Trouble is, I could not seem to find a way to burn any calories or drop any pounds with my good intentions.
I have seen the ads on TV for the ‘miracle pill’ that will help you burn fat, boost your energy, and basically turn you into a runway model without any effort. Can I tell you, that sounded great! Take a pill and get healthy and fit! My heart wants that so badly…
But we know that is not how it works. Fitness does not come from a pill, nor from good intentions. There are not shortcuts, no “health hacks” that get us to the finish line of fitness faster. The triplets of eat right, exercise and get rest are still the only guaranteed way of getting in healthy, physical shape.
Sometimes folks want a spiritual shortcut, too. We want to be spiritually mature or wise or connected to God, and we want it as fast as we can get it without any effort. We want to be discerning and full of goodness, but we do not like waiting, putting in effort or building healthy spiritual habits. And just like our physical fitness, spiritual “fitness” is never achieved with a shortcut or a “life hack.” No one gets spiritually deep overnight, or from a single experience. It takes time to grow spiritually. Specifically, it takes time spent in God’s Word.
Psalm 1:1-3 paints a beautiful picture of this: Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. If you want to grow spiritually, it happens over time, like a tree that receives what it needs daily because it is near to the source of water and life, planted by a riverbank. A tree with daily access to what it needs will grow strong and produce fruit. Isn’t that what we want in our lives – strength and effectiveness? Don’t we want our lives to bear fruit?
Time spent every day taking in God’s word, thinking about it, applying it to our situations and circumstances – that is what grows us spiritually. Little by little, each minute we spend reading the Bible, studying the Bible, discussing the Bible with friends, putting it into practice, that’s where growth happens. Someone said it this way: it takes three hours to grow a mushroom and it takes 30 years to grow an oak tree. Which would you rather be, a strong oak, or a slimy mushroom? Start the habit of reading God’s word everyday, and see your life become strong and fruitful.
Pastor Bill McCready of LifePoint Church is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.