Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Preparations, training, and other actions requiring discipline

The reason that my previous post matters is not just in the case of home improvement. It's certainly an issue with my spiritual life as well. I've often heard the journey of spirituality likened to preparation for a race. You can try really hard to run a double-marathon, but the trying itself will get you nowhere. You have to train for it. Training is very different than trying. And I'm not a trainer. I don't have the discipline to stick with things that don't show immediate results. Is that immaturity? Probably so. But even in times of great growth in my life, I've not been happy or even tolerant of training and preparation. The spiritual disciplines have never provided me with enough fuel to go farther in the race. I'm sure that they would if I trained myself with them, but everytime I try to do that, I fail. It doesn't last. So I wonder... what would get me to train for something? What would be worth it to me to prepare for?

In Devotional Classics this week, our group is reading excerpts from Jonathan Edwards (I can't recall the book the writings are from). He states, ""no one is ever changed either by doctrine, by hearing the word, or by the preaching or teaching of another unless the affections are moved by these things."
The affections to which he refers are those things which touch our desires - fear, anger, thirst, etc. One of the reflection questions is, "Describe a time when you were suddenly moved by a doctrine, or a bible verse,
or a sermon and were subsequently changed." Obviously, the follow-up to that would be, "What affection caused your change?" Hence, my questions of "What would get me to train for something? What would be worth it to me to prepare for?" are answered by this. But now I need to consider which affections most move me to change. I don't have that answer yet.

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