3. Having a Spiritual Workout Plan. One day over this past year, I realized that I always kept track of everything for my physical workouts. I kept track of the time I went into the gym, the time I left, the sets and reps, the exercises, how hard each set was, how I felt physically, what my thoughts were, what I needed to beat for my next workout, and so on. I kept everything in great detail and not only did I keep track of what I was doing, I had a plan. I knew what I was going to do before I got to the gym. There was never any question. So I thought to myself, if I do that for my physical working out, why in the world don’t I do it for my spiritual strength? Therefore I developed my own “spiritual workout plan” that I stick to every day. I have included such things as the main point of the passage, impact verses, application point, what types of prayer I had for the day, if I read select blogs, if I read a chapter from a spiritually related book, if I watched or listened to a podcast, etc. Now I can go back and see how I have progressed and see what I need to be doing in the future. I have a plan every time I head into my day. I know what I am going to be reading out of the Word among other things. There is room for spontaneity, but this keep me disciplined and organized. This keeps me growing. This keeps me connected to God. Without a plan, often times I would end up not meeting with God at all.
4. The 3 Month Rule. I have a rule for myself, and that is that I have to change up my Bible reading plan, where I read or pray, how I read or pray (out loud, silent, etc.), the time that I read and pray, the Bible translation I read from, etc every three months or so. I do this not only to keep things interesting, but to avoid routines. I know routines are good generally, but a lot of the time you begin to forget why you are doing what has now become a routine. You begin to just do your Bible reading because it is what you do. I don’t want that to ever happen. Therefore after three months, I have to switch at least one variable up. Not only does this keep things fresh but it keeps me focused and hungry to learn and meet with God.
5. The One Thing Principle. I totally ripped this one off from Steven Furtick. It is very simple, yet extremely important. Any time I hear or read anything relating back to God’s Word, I must find ONE thing to apply. It doesn’t matter what it is, just as long as I apply one thing. When I begin to fall into a state of lethargy it is generally due to a lack of application. By finding one thing to apply, even in the boring and stale messages of some, I can make sure that I will not be hardening my heart toward God. When we do not apply, all we do is begin to create calluses towards God and his Word. We become immune to the piercing words of the Bible. Slowly but surely if we refuse to apply we drift toward a state of spiritual righteousness, just like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time. I don’t want that to happen; therefore I always find at least ONE thing to apply.
6. Silence. This one seems a little on the odd side, but I think it is extremely valuable. I know many of us are used to having noise in the background, so much so that we cannot fathom being without it. It seems extremely awkward to be doing something in complete silence. But so often Christ is represented in the Gospels as going off in silence to meet with God. I know it is weird and is hard, but I always make sure that when I meet with God and read his word I am in silence.