Our minds consistently underestimate the impact of daily rhythms. Most people want to live healthy lives, but get discouraged when they can’t commit to extended times of exercise.

The American College of Cardiology released surprising research that shows running just five minutes a day decreases a person’s likelihood of dying from a cardiovascular cause by 45%. The study reveals short excursions increase overall health and lifespan as significantly as running 150-minutes a week.
What is true for our bodies is also true for our souls. Yet how much more do we underestimate the impact of spiritual rhythms?
The flesh resists this daily humiliation, first by a frontal attack, and later by hiding itself under the words of the spirit (i.e. in the name of ‘evangelical liberty’). We claim liberty from all legal compulsion, from self-martyrdom and mortification, and play this off against the proper evangelical use of discipline and asceticism; we thus excuse our self-indulgence and irregularity in prayer, in meditation and in our bodily life. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Though Bonhoeffer’s critique can appear like an attack on what it means to live centered on grace and not law, his intention is the opposite. The Cost of Discipleship is the theologian’s manifesto showing how spiritual disciplines, practiced well, are not contradictory to grace, but extensions of it.
“Godly discipline is being disciplined in the strength of the Holy Spirit, with the purpose of sanctification,” writes Sarah Walton. Her post on spiritual disciplines and grace explores how spiritual disciplines are practiced in the life of Christians who are, “fully aware that justification comes only through salvation in Christ.”
The danger of confusing [disciplines with legalism] is that we can lose the important spiritual disciplines which are crucial to our growth, sanctification, protection, and intimacy with Christ. — Sarah Walton
Spiritual disciplines result in godly change. Nearly anyone can self-will reasonable amounts of self discipline or patience — which may be why the writers of scripture reveal the mark of the Christian not to be one-off character traits, but a life marked by the Fruit of the Spirit.
Paul wrote of the Fruit of the Spirit as the transferable attributes of God. Quite simply, if a person lives closely with God they will begin to exhibit his character. True Fruit of the Spirit are lived in concert: peace in gentleness; patience in love; joy in self-discipline. This balance only comes as we live in discipline and are strengthened by the Spirit.
Renewing emphasis on a discipline of faith, like scripture reading, prayer, or solitude, can reorient our lives. These seasons of renewal don’t have to be massive — committing to memorize the New Testament or praying two hours a day — the long-term impact of daily rhythms is significant.
In his TED talk on creating change, Google engineer Matt Cutts shares, “I learned that when I made small, sustainable changes, things I could keep doing, they were more likely to stick. There’s nothing wrong with big, crazy challenges. In fact, they’re a ton of fun. But they’re less likely to stick”
“So here’s my question to you: What are you waiting for? I guarantee you the next 30 days are going to pass whether you like it or not, so why not think about something you have always wanted to try and give it a shot! For the next 30 days.” — Matt Cutts
Today’s Reading
2 Samuel 14 (Listen – 5:57)
2 Corinthians 7 (Listen – 2:58)
This Weekend’s Readings
2 Samuel 15 (Listen – 6:06) and 2 Corinthians 8 (Listen – 3:25)
2 Samuel 16 (Listen – 4:03) and 2 Corinthians 9 (Listen – 2:26)
The Weekend Reading List