In the first month we recognized the need for a fit church body, and month two we discussed gathering motivation. Step three was rest, and four was the actual beginning of the workout: getting on our knees and letting God’s strength and power replace our weaknesses and powerlessness. With step five, our goal is to see that one beneficial task put into a routine.
A person doesn’t get fit because of one workout, just as a church can’t get fit with one great service or one moment of sincere communal prayer. In Acts 2: 42-46, the author recounts: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul . . . all who believed were together . . . and day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God . . . and the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
Notice, they devoted themselves to learning, eating, coming together, and praying - day by day. It’s noted in psychology that 40% of our mental activity, which carries over into physical activity, is subconscious habit. Some of those habits are good, and some of them we wish we could break and keep asking forgiveness for. To break those habits, to turn the subconscious problems into conscious solutions, Scripture points to the same two things psychology does: bad habits must be replaced by good ones, and it’s a whole lot easier if you’re in it with others.
Your spiritual fitness is not for yourself, the church body not only desires it, but needs to work out with you for the good of all. Let us not just pray to God to work with our conscious mind and body, but also the 40% of us that is subconscious and habitual. You may think, just like many people trying to get physically fit, “I just don’t have time.” Is it that you don’t have time or that it’s just not in the habit of your daily life? We find time for what is important, and sometimes it’s not important until we’ve spent a few weeks in it and start seeing results.
Sometimes, motivation comes after the reward, not before - after you’ve started working out with us, not before. And what does this passage in Acts say are the results of our habitual workouts? Awe. Gladness. Generosity. Praise. Growth. God wants these things for you. God wants these things for our church body. So what do you say? Will you accept the challenge in step five to make not just church a habit, but also prayer, eating with others, daily devotionals, leading or participating in a Sunday morning or Wednesday evening class, and being intentional about replacing your unproductive habits with ones of fellowship and praise? You’ll lose no time, and have so much to gain - and not just for you but for His glory.
See you at the water fountain!
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Sean King is the Pastor for First Christian Church of Cisco.