This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. – 2 Tim 1:6-7
The sick man said, “Sir, when the water is stirred (troubled), I don’t have anybody to put me in the pool. By the time I get there, somebody else is already in.” Jesus said, “Get up, take your bedroll, start walking.” – John 5:7-9
Good morning to all of you. It’s a curious fact that, even when I have no real urge to write, my morning feels incomplete if I have not posted some kind of devotional thought here on this blog site. So I’ll toast you all with this cup of coffee – “ciao!” – open my computer, and see what transpires.
Actually, this discipline speaks to the consistency aspect of what it means to be an intentional disciple rather than simply “I guess I’m a Christian” or “I’m a church member”. It is my intention to engage my spirit with God and to live out of that relationship that marks me as a spiritual person.
Being spiritual is an intention
If I waited to talk with God until it felt easy or obvious, then that sense of spiritual connection would consistently become less frequent and less compelling before eventually evaporating. However, when I make the decision to open the scriptures, to open my eyes and ears, and to open my heart, then the relationship becomes more natural over time.
But we have this curious idea that “intentional” or “deliberate” or “disciplined” are not so legitimate as something spontaneous or serendipitous. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say they only attend church, or pray, or read the Bible “when the Spirit moves me.” They insist they want their spiritual life to be “natural.”
Well, observation and experience tell me that it’s natural for human beings to improve their skills, their relationships, even their instincts via the application of discipline and intentionality. In other words, the parts of our lives that are important, and meaningful, always require a disciplined approach if we are to develop and enjoy them.
We were created to be active rather than passive!
Why? Because that is how we are created. We have been created in such a way that choice, volition, and application are complementary to instinct and desire and emotion.
And so, rather than saying “if the spirit moves me” then I will talk with God or go to church – it is more accurate, and spiritual, to understand that the spirit is more likely to move when we make the effort to show up!
So I am “showing up” this morning for my devotional writing, and I am glad that some of you are – figuratively – looking over my shoulder.
Now let’s apply all those action words to our practice of faith. Listen, read, pray, live it, practice, practice, show up.
“Show up!!” – DEREK