My smart phone played a gentle ringtone, awakening me. It was 4 AM. I changed into my workout clothes and headed to my garage where I exercised on my elliptical machine for the next 45 minutes. A shower and quick breakfast and I was on my way to work, arriving at 540 AM. This is my daily workday routine which I have kept for over five years. On the weekends, I awaken at 630 AM to do the same workout. Some of my friends have suggested that I should take a break but I know myself. If I miss one day, I descend onto a slippery slope and I could easily convince myself to skip another day. I know.
Many years ago, when I was in high school, a family friend who was a physician, imparted some sage advice. “You are young, so this is a good time to start getting into good habits. Try to exercise at least 20 minutes everyday. It may sound easy but believe me, once you begin college and get a job and a family, it will be very easy to miss a workout. You’ll make excuses. Start now!”
He was right. Although I attempted to put his advice into practice, I only sporadically exercised. At that time, I was not a morning person and I attempted to exercise at the end of my day. The problem was I was too easily distracted by the events of the day. Bad mid-term. Argument with a friend. An onerous work assignment. When I came home, all I wanted to do was relax and vegetate. One missed day quickly slipped into a missed week, then a month. I was on the slippery slope and the scale was testimony to my lack of discipline. I gained thirty pounds over the span of twenty years. It was time to take control.
A similar mindset applies to my spiritual life. My usual practice is to pray as I drive to work then I read the Bible when I am at my office. However, like my exercise routine, I was not always as disciplined. Excuses easily crept in and I justified it by reasoning that I was doing things for my family or helping others with my job as a physician. However, I knew I was only lying to God.
I passed by the field of the sluggard and by the vineyard of the man lacking sense, and behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles; its surface was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. When I saw, I reflected upon it; I looked, and received instruction. “A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest,” Then your poverty will come as a robber and your want like an armed man.
Proverbs 24:30-34 (NASB)
If I have the discipline to exercise everyday, I should certainly have the spiritual discipline to read the Bible and pray to God everyday.
…On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
1 Timothy 4:7-9 (NASB)
A little sleep and a little slumber quickly leads one to careen down a slippery slope, ending in excuses and laziness. The disciplined life begins and ends with godliness.
Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.