When you go to a symphony you may find yourself struck by a powerful moment of sound. You can feel the quality and passion in your core. The same is true when witnessing one of the best athletes in the world win a gold medal in her speciality. We have all witnessed the moment where something great happened. But what didn’t you see? Since you only saw the moment you might be tempted to think that the individuals in view had just received a special gift from God, and you may be tempted to ignore all of the hard work. In each of these cases you did not see the thousands upon thousands of repetitions that prepared the musician or athlete for the moment. It was the repetitive and sometimes mundane repetitions that were crucial for success.
In my own unremarkable venture into running, in 6 weeks I went from not being able to run a mile without stopping more than once to catch my breath to being able to run 5. What were the keys? Consistency, quality, and accountability. I can also attest to how quickly we can lose the ground we gain. Not moving forward is a negative event. The same is true in our spiritual lives.
The Word, church history, and our own practical experience all testify to this truth:
Consistency + Quality + Accountability = Spiritual Growth
As elders, the consistent inputs we desire to see in each of us are: Sunday morning worship, house fellowships, and daily time with God. Our focus here is the daily quiet times.
Consistency – We encourage you to have a consistent daily time with God. While we want to learn to pray throughout the day everyday, having a focused time of prayer and Bible reading/study without distractions is the goal for consistency. You may not always be able to have a distraction free space, and you may have to ask your spouse, kids, or roommates to not interrupt you. Reading plan note – some people find a good rhythm in a 6 day a week reading plan and use Sundays to pray and consider more the texts used in that Lord’s Day meeting.
Quality – While consistency is important, we also have to acknowledge that quality is also important. Spending 1 minute in prayer and 1 minute reading everyday is certainly consistent and definitely better than nothing, but greater quality requires a greater engagement. A person who only exercises for 2 minutes a day is not likely to be prepared to run 10 miles. But more important than time is focus. To focus means to truly engage one’s mind, heart, and spirit with the Almighty, which is the goal. To do so will require you to give time & space for that to happen.
Accountability – Until a habit has become part of who I am, I need accountability. For example, most of us do not need accountability to brush our teeth twice a day – we just do it as part of our daily health. We know that doing so is critical to the long term health of our teeth. If a daily time with God is not part of your life, then it is highly likely that you would benefit from accountability in this area. How to do that? There are a couple of options – one is to have partners or groups email or text the highlight from their respective quiet times each day. If it is a group, it should be relatively small. The ladies in the east side fellowship have begun doing this each day via text.
Think About It – In 10 years you could have over 3000 encounters with God Himself! We are confident that you will experience spiritual growth if you have consistent, quality times alone with God combined with sound teaching and encouraging fellowship. You will be prone to live a life that counts. You will be ready for the pressure filled moments where God’s glory will shine through you! If you are already consistent, keep it going. If not, what is hindering you from committing yourself to Consistency + Quality + Accountability?
- Commit to consistency and quality
- Have a plan – you can find quality reading plans at Bible.com
- Ask for accountability