“Consistency is hard work,” says a Tennessee preacher, Matthew Morine.
He illustrated this principle in his efforts to exercise regularly. He gets up every morning at 6:00 A.M. and goes to the gym. Matthew says that going once or twice a week is not enough. “The key in working out is consistency.”
In the same way, consistency is the key to spiritual growth. It involves devotion, persistence, and steadfastness.” Hall of fame football coach, Jim Tressel, observed “The hallmark of excellence, the test of greatness, is consistency.”
Consider these qualities of consistency as they apply to your spiritual growth.
#1 Consistency Involves Diligence.
In his exhortation to grow in the Christian graces of faith, moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love, Peter precedes that by exhorting them to “give all diligence” (2 Pet. 1:5-7). The Greek word translated diligence means to exert one’s self. To make every effort. To be eager. To be earnest.
Diligence is not a one time activity. Or an occasional effort. Or a casual approach. It involves consistency. Careful attention. And persistent effort.
You can no more improve your physical condition by going to the gym once a week than you can grow spiritually by just attending church once a week.
#2 Consistency Involves Discipline.
John Maxwell was right when he wrote, “Motivation gets you going–Discipline keeps you growing.”
The regular and consistent disciplines of prayer, Bible reading, spiritual meditation and a daily God consciousness will add up over a period of time to greater spiritual growth.
Using an athletic metaphor the apostle offered this insight.
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. (I Cor. 9:24-27)
Running the Christian race is an ultra-marathon that calls for consistent mental, emotional, physical and spiritual discipline. Lou Holtz was spot on when he said, “Without self-discipline, success is impossible. Period.”
#3 Consistency Involves Determination.
My online Thesaurus offers these synonyms for determination. Doggedness. Dedication. Persistence. Fortitude. Tenacity. Steadfastness. And spunk. While these all offer some characteristics of a determined person. There’s another aspect to determination.
Dictionary.com defines determination as “the act of coming to a decision or of fixing or settling on a purpose.”
Determined Disciples are driven by God’s purpose (2 Tim. 1:9). Committed to His cause (2 Tim. 1:12). Motivated by His love (2 Cor. 5:14). Unwavering in our ministry (1 Cor.15:58). And resolute in the values we embrace and the priorities we pursue (Matt. 6:19-34).
Once again determination is not an on again and off again quality. It is consistent. It calls for daily crossing-bearing. Continual self-sacrifice. And a steadfast devotion to Christ and His cause.
The late HOF footfall coach, Vince Lombardi once opined, “Once you learn to quit it becomes a habit.” On the flip side of the coin, this is true of consistency. When we learn to keep on keeping on regardless of the challenges we face it also becomes habitual.
As Tampa author, Michael Angier, and founder of Success Networks International wrote, “If you develop the habits of success, you’ll make success a habit.” This true not only in sports and business, but also spiritually.
Consistently sowing seeds for spiritual growth will produce the fruit of the spirit and will eventually reap the reward of everlasting life.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
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