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The Exponential Effect of Consistency

The other day, I found myself reading over Charles Spurgeon’s average work week. Let me tell you something…if you want to feel like you do nothing, read what men like Spurgeon did. There is a sense in which these men tower over the rest of us, seemingly mere mortals as super-human or something of that nature. When I take too long on great men of the faith like this, there is always the temptation to become self-deprecating, tear myself down, and minimize anything I do. As I met with a biblically sound pastor the other month, I explained my shock and dismay as I read these words. I added that men like D. A. Carson and Al Mohler read upwards of 10 books per week! What on earth am I doing that I cannot come even close to this standard?





At this point in the conversation, my pastor friend knowingly added some remarks. He told me that these men have spent a lifetime reading the same types of material; they have slowly disciplined themselves to be able to read more and more than they did the week before. He then looked at me and said, “Hey, in 10 years, you could be reading six books a week, too!” Given a new perspective on this goal, I now found myself invigorated to discipline myself slowly toward my goal. I was now ready to do the slow, intentional walk up the mountain, determined to make progress over time and not paying too much attention to where I was.


When hiking up a steep mountain, there seems always to be this temptation to look back, down, and see how far you’ve come. But as anyone who has done this can tell you, the average person can’t look for too long before becoming discombobulated and nearly tumbling down however far you have come up. Similarly, we make the best progress in life when we know how far we have come but do not spend too much time dwelling on where we are or where we have been. The most consistent growth comes from those who keep their eyes locked on the summit and slowly, steadily, march toward their goal.


Patience is a virtue…so they say, but many do not act as if they believe. It has been said over the years that you can become an expert in just about anything once you have invested 10,000 hours into it. Now, this is a sizeable amount of time. If you were to span it over ten years and take minimal breaks, you would need to spend almost 3 hours every day for ten years to hit this goal. That is a serious investment. Yet we see men and women who will dedicate a decade of their lives towards becoming the greatest at something or a subject matter expert, and as you look at their lives, you will rarely see disappointment. We receive a beautiful feeling of fulfillment when we complete an arduous task over a long stretch of time.


One of the three things that have grown me the most in my Christian walk is being ultra-consistent in my spiritual disciplines. I think of spiritual disciplines like putting money into your 401k. You are making more money over time, even if it doesn’t feel like it. We must grasp this concept because our passions or emotions can so easily sway us in any given situation. If you allow your passion to dictate if you will engage in your spiritual disciplines today, you are bound to fail. I have a saying that I read to myself every Tuesday, “If I am not determined to grow, I am destined to decay.” It is the same for you and me. No one drifts into becoming a subject matter expert. No one floats into becoming more sanctified, knowledgeable of the Bible, etc.


When times of passion or emotion come, they can be so joyous and overwhelming. These moments are delightful in many ways. However, the health of a church and a believer is found in their long-term, marathon-like mentality towards disciplining themselves unto godliness. In a meeting with some deacons the other month, I said, “We don’t want to get people hyped up and make that our goal. We want to help them to develop deep, biblical convictions and to be disciplined in their walk with Christ.”


The Christian walk is not some mystical journey. It is not a journey where you need to deprive yourself or beat yourself to be more holy (asceticism). It is not even a journey where you must keep a checklist to ensure that you keep all of the rules (legalism). The Christian walk is a journey of holding Christ’s hand, staying close to Him, and following in His footsteps. As I have said before, sanctification is synergistic, meaning that it takes 100% of God and 100% of myself for me to grow. Listen to Phillipians 2:12-13.


“12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”


You and I are commanded to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. That’s a massive effort expenditure if I’ve ever seen one. However, we always do this knowing that it is God who works in us. It is His power, will, might, knowledge, and wisdom working in and through us. So, today, choose to act as though the Holy God of the Universe is working in your very soul. I leave you with these words from Paul in 1 Timothy 4:7b-8.


“Rather train yourself for godliness; 8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”


May God bless your week as you seek His kingdom first!


Grace and Peace,

Pastor Dan


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Colossians 1:28

"Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ."

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