Fall has arrived, and we feel the coolness in the air. This change feels good after the hot summer we had. The beautiful creation and colors of fall that God created will soon be visible as the leaves change to their beautiful colors. The famers will begin harvesting the crops they planted in the spring. Apple picking has begun, Sweet cider being made. Children looking forward to going to the pumpkin patch to pick that one special pumpkin to take home to carve for Halloween, then off to the store to find a good costume to wear on Halloween night. The fall sports are in full swing. The Nascar and Dirt racing season is winding down. How fast time seems to go by and still so much to do. However, our schedules continue to be pretty full. Let me ask you this question about your schedule: “Are you on schedule to become who you want to be?” Most of us put into our weekly schedules various meetings, appointments, tasks, sporting events, and the list could go on and on. These are things we need to get done for our jobs, church responsibilities, and family activities etc.
But how many of us put into our schedules what we need to do in order to become who we want to become? Bill Hybels said to schedule your life according to who or what you want to become, and he gives the following example: One day when his daughter was about three or four years old, she very innocently asked, “Daddy, are you going to be at church again tonight?” A perfectly innocent question became the catalyst for some serious soul-searching. Bill grew up with a father who was gone too much. He was determined not to repeat that pattern. He wanted to be a great dad, not just a good dad, but a great dad. So he asked himself this question: If I want to become a great dad, how many nights a week will I need to schedule to be at home to spend time with my family? His answer was four nights a week at home. Up until that time, he would schedule meetings and other things he needed to get done to fulfill his church responsibilities, and then his family would get the “leftovers.” He changed his schedule in order to become who he wanted to become. He began to schedule four nights a week at home with his family. He would actually write into his weekly schedule “home” four nights a week (when he was in town). Four is not a magic number for every man. But here’s the point: We don’t become who we want to become by accident. We don’t become who we want to become by committing the “leftovers’ to that goal.
So I ask again, “Are you on schedule to become who you want to become?” Do you want to enjoy good health, fitness and energy when you’re in your 40s,50’s,60s,70s? Physical fitness doesn’t just happen, you have to schedule exercise and workouts into your daily and weekly schedule. Putting in 30 minutes of exercise three – five times a week can change your life. Good relationships and marriages also take work. That may not sound too exciting, but it’s essential in order for it to last for many years and will grow deeper over time. Spiritual fitness and spiritual maturity don’t just happen either. Most Christians that love the Lord would like to become more like Christ, but it just doesn’t happen. Even with good intentions and a good heart, it doesn’t just happen. There’s more to growing in Christ-like than scheduling certain spiritual disciplines and good habits into your schedule, but there’s not less than that. There are certain habits and disciplines that are essential to becoming spiritually mature and more Christ-like. So many people today think of the spiritual disciplines (Bible meditation, prayer, personal worship and daily quiet time, fasting, , solitude, simplicity, submission, etc.) as spiritual activities that we must do in a highly disciplined and structured manner in order to reach God and grow stronger spiritually. While that’s not entirely wrong, I would propose a healthier and perhaps more accurate way of looking at the spiritual disciplines. What if we regarded the spiritual disciplines as means God has provided for us to become more Christ-like? God’s ultimate purpose for our lives is to conform us to the likeness of His Son, Jesus. In order to act like Jesus outwardly, we must become like Jesus inwardly. We can’t simply ask “What would Jesus do?” in a particular situation and then go out and do it consistently any more than we can imitate a Michael Phelps, David Beckham, LeBron James or others without practicing.
In His Service,