Gear Up PT. 1 - How to Gear Up Spiritually

Exploring The Importance Of Spiritual Fitness In Our Lives.

Tim Lundy
Nov 8, 2020    43m
As you head into a new year, do you make health goals that involve diet, working out, and getting physically fit? Most people do, but you must also remember that a critical part of wellness is planning for your spiritual fitness as well. This message gives practical advice on how to train in your spiritual life. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy: 00:09 Well Venture, as we head into the fall, I'm excited about this series that I've entitled Gear Up. And it's really focusing on how do we gear up personally, not just for the fall, but really beyond that. I've been thinking about 2021, I don't know about you, I am hopeful 2021 is a better year than 2020. No guarantees, we've learned a lot, and we've been humbled this year. But as I think about next year, as that think about how we launch into it, you know, we often make resolutions, we often make plans in that timeframe, but we don't prepare in advance for it. And so I'm wanting to do this series now, you know, this is the timeframe where we're thinking about holidays and we don't really gear up, this is the time when we gobble up. And then we have to gear up later, and pay for it later. But this fall, with this series, over the next four weeks, we're going to look at how do we spiritually gear up? How do we prepare for what we hope will be a great year? How do we put in place the kind of things that we need to be doing, the tools that we need in our life, to live the kind of lives that we want to live?

Tim Lundy: 01:20 And as we think about it, and I thought about this series, you know, I was reminded of a Wall Street Journal article that highlighted the sales of athletic wear. And it had a question at the beginning of the article, it says, why work out when you can buy the clothes and look like you have? And what they were highlighting is this explosion in sales of athletic wear, how people were buying workout gear, but not really working out, they're wearing it all the time. And they predicted by 2020, this was a few years ago, it would be a hundred billion dollar industry, in the spandex, and the t-shirts, and even it extended to outdoor stores that were designing hiking boots that they knew no one would hike, and flannel shirts that no one really took to the outdoors. As you looked at it, yoga sales went up 45%, even as yoga was declining in activity. They changed the name of the workout gear, it wasn't athletic wear anymore, now it's athleisure, they added kind of a leisure on the back of it. And it's kind of telling to me, we've got all the tools of it, all the outfit for it, but we're not really doing the activity of it.

Tim Lundy: 02:40 You know, I was thinking about that spiritually as well. Because as a people, we probably have more spiritual tools at our fingertips than any generation before. We have more online, we have more literal Bibles than before. You know, when surveyed the Huffington Post did a across the U S, and they highlighted that 9 out of 10 households in America have a Bible, about 80% would say, it's a sacred book, 61% said they wished they read it more. But here's what stood out to me, because, Barna released a study on Bible reading that just came out, and they particularly tracked this year. And for the first time in 10 years, daily reading of the Bible went down a significant amount. For the 10 years up until this year up until COVID year, daily Bible readings was about 14% of households, where people in the U S would say, they read the Bible every day. This year, that number went down to 9%, and dropping even more. And it was kind of startling, because you would think with COVID, with being at home, with our normal activity disrupted, if there was ever a time that we could read the Bible, that we could engage in spiritual discipline and spiritual fitness, it would be now, but it's actually going down.

Tim Lundy: 04:10 And I think there's a part, there's a lot of reasons, part of it, I think we're out of the spiritual fitness of coming to church, we're out of a lot of our normal routines. We can look at all these different parts, but as I've thought about, and I've been praying about it and looking at my own life in it, I thought, what if we started gearing up right now? What if we started preparing? And so today, I want to talk about spiritual fitness. Next week, I want to talk about how do we disciple in our own home? How do we prepare our own kids? How do we think about evangelism in a new way? How do we reach out to our community? How do we generously serve, in what we're called to do? The things that every single one of us can do, no matter what's going on in the world, that God's called us to do,

Tim Lundy: 04:52 So as we think about spiritual fitness today, I just want to highlight for you the importance of spiritual discipline, the importance of spiritual fitness. I use that word, spiritual fitness, because I think there's a lot of parallels between physical fitness and spiritual fitness. We don't always apply them in that way, but scripture does. So why is it so important? If you look in your notes, and you've got a number of notes today. I'd encourage you online, I put a number of passages, number of notes, because it's a very practical message to help each one of us get in gear. If we're not reading, if we're not applying, and maybe that's you, maybe you look at it and you go, Tim, I have lost so many spiritual habits. There's so many things that I used to do, or so many things I never can really get off the ground, this is the message for you, that we can apply it together. And before we finish, I'm going to apply this in some ways that all of us as a church, we can do this together, so it's a great time for us to all start.

Tim Lundy: 05:48 So why is it so important? Well, here is the first thing that you see. I mean, spiritual fitness is literally commanded by God, it's not an optional thing in scripture. And one of the people that talked about it the most, was the Apostle Paul. Paul took it very seriously in his own life, he took it seriously in the life of those he discipled. Look what he says to Timothy, this is First Timothy 4, he says, "Train yourself to be godly." Literally that word train is, [foreign language] it's where we get gymnasium. He says, you need to go to the spiritual gym, Timothy, "Train yourself to be godly. Physical training is of some value." He's making this link between physical training and spiritual training. He says, now, physically, it's good to train yourself. It's some value, "But godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." Notice that he puts those two together, he says, hey, Timothy is good to take care of your body, but I'm telling you when you are spiritually fit, it not only impacts this life, it impacts the life to come.

Tim Lundy: 06:51 Look how he describes his own life, in First Corinthians, he says, "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?" So he's comparing it to the Olympic races that they would see. And so in Corinth, they had a stadium, they were used to seeing races, and they knew what these competitions look like. So he's using again that physical and the spiritual, he says, "So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable." When the athlete would win the race, they would put this garland on their head, and that was the sign of the victor. And then when they walked around town, for as long as that Garland was alive, they would be rewarded for that. He says, but that's perishable. Man, we're going to be rewarded with something imperishable. He said, "So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air." But look how he describes his life, "I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified." Here's one of the things I love about Paul, he took so seriously what he was doing, that he says, I never want to preach to other people, I don't want to call other people to live this life, and I'm not living it. I want there to be authenticity, I don't be one of those preachers that everybody knows about, and they just blew it in a royal way, and it brings discredit to the church, brings discredit to the gospel, he said, I don't want that to be true about my life. So what does he do? He says, "I discipline my body." The old King James word is. "I buffet my body." Now I don't know about you, I like to buffet my body, especially if it's an all, you can eat buffet, but that's not what he saying. He saying, no, I literally, I keep it under control, I take this seriously. Do you hear that in the passion of his life, in the passion of his teaching, and to what he's calling to as well. Guys, this spiritual training, it's commanded by God.

Tim Lundy: 09:02 Now look at the second thing that comes with this as well, it is active engagement every day with God. This is how you engage with God, this is how you are able to interact with him every day, is through these spiritual disciplines, it's through these exercises that he calls us to. And in a fundamental level, and I'm talking about the basic exercise, is going to come down to the Bible and prayer. The Bible and prayer, that's your active engagement with God. Why do I say that? Because look how he describes the Bible, it's not like any other book, "All Scripture is breathed out by God." It's inspired by God, it literally came from God, it's profitable. And he says, "It's profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." There's nothing that's going to equip your life like the Bible, because there's no other book that has been literally God breathed.

Tim Lundy: 09:59 Look how he puts it in Hebrews, he says, "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." It literally, this is a living book, it's an active book, it speaks today because it's been breathed out by God. And it has the ability, notice how he's describing it, it has the ability to cut all the way to the soul, it has the ability to speak right to your heart, to help you discern your heart.

Tim Lundy: 10:39 So let me just say, in just a fundamental way, if you are not, daily, taking in God's Word, and then speaking back to him in prayer, you are not growing. It is that fundamental. You'll be stunted in your growth, and ultimately you start dying. We're in foreign territory here, remember we talked about the kingdom of God, this is foreign territory, this is literally living water. You know, one of the best pictures of that, you know, back in 1930, the Shedd Aquarium opened in Chicago. If you've ever been to Chicago, it is well worth visiting it. At the time that it opened, I don't know if it's still true, it was a largest saltwater aquarium in the world. And the amazing part is, Chicago is 800 miles from any saltwater. And so in order to open the aquarium, they sent a train, and they took these train cars, these tank cars on the train, all the way to key West Florida. And they literally brought back millions of gallons of water, so that they could open this aquarium, and people could enjoy these saltwater creatures. And these creatures could live in it, it was the water that they need. Now, today they do it through a thing called instant ocean, they're able to mix water, and they're able to do it. But for the longest time, they would have to ship that water up. Now, as fascinating as that is, it's even better if you go down to Monterey, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium is right in our backyard, I love going there. And the thing about Monterey, it's literally built on the Bay, they don't have to ship anything in, they've got pipes, they've got intake pipes that can bring in 2000 gallons of water a minute. And so what they do is they just open up the intake pipes, and they're constantly bringing in that fresh salt water for all the creatures in it.

Tim Lundy: 12:42 As I think about that, here's what I want you to picture. This is the intake pipe, guys, this is living water. And if we're not taking it in every day, and then in the same way they take that fresh water in and the old water goes out, man, when you're praying to God, what does he say? You tell him everything, you cast cares on him, you tell him what you need, you ask for forgiveness. Man, all the junk of my life was able to go out, and then I receive the living water of what he's saying to me, and how he meets me. And I just want to implore you, if we're not taking advantage of it every day, just like a fish that is an old water, at some point that fish will die. And if we've reached the point that we've got to Athleisure, we got the Bibles around the house, we've got the tools, but we're not engaging them. We're losing the opportunity, every day, to engage the living God in the way that he designed.

Tim Lundy: 13:46 Look at the next point in that, he says, it prevents spiritual atrophy. It prevents spiritual atrophy. And again, remember Paul applied it to the physical body. I would say in the same way, when we're not spiritually engaged, if we're not in the disciplines like that, when we're not doing spiritual exercises every day, our spiritual bodies atrophy. Now think about when your physical body atrophies, I mean over time, if you don't do any exercise, what happens? We start getting a little bit of a physical gut, maybe some love handles, maybe more than a little gut. Your bones creak, you lose flexibility, and ultimately it catches up with you, you can't do the things you want to do in life, every day is harder in that. And I would say the same is true spiritually, man, you lose that exercise, you start atrophying, you start carrying a little more spiritual weight, maybe some spiritual love handles. Some of the things that weren't a temptation, suddenly become harder in life. You don't have the energy, spiritually, that you used to. When somebody asks you to serve, or give, or things that used to be a part of your life, you find a spiritual sluggishness that sets in, and it usually doesn't happen overnight.

Tim Lundy: 15:11 You know, Proverbs 24 has a great picture, where the writer says, he's walking by this field, and he says, it's the field of a lazy person. And he looks at it, what was once a beautiful field is now grown over, weeds, thorns, thistles. And here was the line that stood out to me the most, it had reached the point that the wall itself had fallen down. It didn't happen overnight, it just wasn't maintained, a few weeds started growing, then the thorns came in. But here's the reality, what started small had overtaken it, to the point that something as strong as the wall is now crumbling down from it. And guys the same is true in our life, when we experience spiritual atrophy. Man, the weeds that start coming in, the thorns and the thistles, and some of those walls, those morals, those stands, those things that were so strong in our life, you can look up, and they start crumbling too, and the spiritual energy to make those decisions is gone. That's why it's so important that we are spiritually fit and engaged in this way.

Tim Lundy: 16:31 Now here's the flip side of it, that's the negative, here's the positive side of it though as you look. It brings greater freedom in life. Man, when you are fit, you have more freedom. When you are fit, you can do more. Jesus puts it in this way, look how Jesus says it in John 10:10, I love how he says it. He says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." Now he's comparing himself with Satan. He says, here's what Satan always likes to do, he likes to steal, he likes to kill, and he wants to destroy. Satan can't create anything, that's why he hates God. Satan is not original in any way whatsoever, all he can do is corrupt what God did, all he can do is kill what God brought life to, and so that's what he wants to do in our lives. Jesus, on the other side, he brings life, not just life, abundant life. You know one of the key ways that Satan does this, though, how he kills and steals and destroys. He convinces with the lie, over and over again, that discipline is the way of death. God's just trying to bog you down with a bunch of rules, God just wants to keep you from enjoying life. He did it all the way back in the garden with Eve, so he told her, he says, man, God's holding out on you, are you really going to abide by these rules? Man, life is so much more out here, throw it off, don't do it that way. And I'm telling you, it's a lie, it's a lie straight from the pit of hell.

Tim Lundy: 18:08 Here's the reality, discipline actually leads to more freedom. We know this is true, I mean, look at sports. If you want to be a good athlete at sport, what do you have to do? Man, you have to discipline yourself to do the skills, and do the drills, and do the fundamental things that build over time in a way that now when you get out on the field. When you get on the baseball diamond, when you're swinging a bat, when you're on the hockey rink, all those things that the discipline of those skills over time give you great freedom in the game. I mean the same is true of as a musician, you can't just pick up a musical instrument and expect to start playing it. If you ever played an instrument, I played a trumpet growing up and then the French horn, I can't tell you many hours of playing scales over and over, and just fundamental discipline and practice of that. Now, was it fun doing it? No, it really wasn't, but it led to freedom, that if you actually want to play the instrument. And the same is true in everything that God prescribes, everything he calls us to.

Tim Lundy: 19:17 Guys, God never calls you to something unless it leads to more life, that's what Jesus promised in it. And sometimes I think we lose a perspective, because we make the spiritual disciplines the end in themselves, and we don't want to do that. We create this thing, like you need to read your Bible, you need to pray, you need to fast. We go through all the things, and they become the end in themselves. And unless you really enjoy those things, they become drudgery. The same is true physically. Now, some of you, you love working out, every day, that is your favorite part of the day. And let me just say you're sick, but that's how God made you, so God bless you in it. My wife loves running, she does, she loves to run. Literally, loves the time out there doing that. Now me, I think running should be reserved for when something might be chasing you, like a bear, or something like that. I'm ready then, I'm kind of storing up my running. Now, it doesn't quite work that way, if the two of us are ever chased by a bear, we know which one of us will be eaten, and I'm willing to sacrifice for the sake of the children. I don't enjoy it, for me, that becomes something I have to do so that it leads to something greater, it's the end in itself. And the reality is some of you, man, picking up the Bible just doesn't naturally become one of those things that you go, oh man, that's easy for me, I enjoy it. When I talk about these spiritual disciplines, you can kind of look at them like playing scales. And here's what I want you to see though, they're not the end, it's what they lead to. It's that engagement in life, it's like playing the instrument, it's like playing a sport.

Tim Lundy: 21:06 And sometimes I don't think we realize what comes out of this kind of spiritual fitness. And I taught on this recently with the men, and we kind of compared what did the results of physical fitness, and I went through all the categories. There's kind of 10 major categories, you get power, and strength, and stamina, and coordination, the more you do it, you start building up these things that improve all of your life. And I just applied that over spiritually. Because sometimes I think if we don't have a picture of what comes out this, we lose perspective of why to do it. Look at this list, I just came up with 10 things, 10 aspects of spiritual fitness. That the more that we apply ourselves to this, the more we engage in it, look at the things that start coming into your life. You're able to delay gratification, man, I'm not overwhelmed by my appetite, I can actually delay things. I receive insights and hear God's voice, man, don't you want that? Don't you want to, actually, when you read the Bible, you realize, okay, wait, this is coming from God. And then you start realizing how he's speaking to you during the day, he's leading you. We make better decisions based on wisdom, because you're depositing wisdom in your life every day, and so you start making better decisions off of that. You remain centered and unaffected by external events. So when the world is topsy turvy, when everybody's panicked, whether it's an election, whether it's a pandemic, man, you have deposited truth, you're connected to the living God, you have that living water, so you don't live up and down every day off of that. You demonstrate moral courage, you're able to take those hard stands when you need to, you develop inner peace, don't you want peace. You behave unselfishly, this is where it starts impacting the people in your life, it impacts your spouse, it impacts your kids. That no longer is life just about me, God's changing me, and I'm able to live an unselfish life. You endure hardship, you start forging good habits, and I love this line, you conquer the worst parts of yourself. I mean those things in you that you look at and you go, man, I don't want that, I don't like that, I don't want to do that. You know what happens as you start building that spiritual fitness, as you start getting stronger, as you start engaging, this is the fruit that comes in. This is just one list, guys, I could go on with this. But see, I've put this in your notes because I think if we don't get this picture, this is why we're doing it, this is why we engage in it, this is why we give our lives to it, because God's using this to transform us. Satan wants you to believe that discipline is death, Jesus uses spiritual discipline to bring life. Embrace it.

Tim Lundy: 24:12 Now, anytime I teach on this, it never fails, when I teach on spiritual disciplines or spiritual practices with that, I usually get two objections that are kind of spiritual nature. These people kind of spiritualize why they don't want to do this. Here's the first one, it's some variation of this. People will say to me, I rest in the sovereignty of God, if God wants me to grow, I'll grow. You know, I hear that and I go, oh, that sounds so spiritual, it might be just a little bit lazy too. I mean, guys, come on, if God wants me to grow, I'll grow. If I applied that physically, I mean, if I said, you know, if God wanted me to have food in me, he'd put food in me. No wake up knucklehead, he gave your hands and a mouth for a reason, I'm supposed to put the food in. I'd say the same thing spiritually, we think these miraculous deposits are just supposed to happen through osmosis or something else. No, he's given you a brains, he's given you the tools, he's given you a Bible, he's given you resources, he's given us more than ever before in that.

Tim Lundy: 25:18 Look how Paul puts it, he says, "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation." Look at this, "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." He says, you need to take your growth seriously. And he's writing to the Philippian church, he says, I'm not with you right now. But here's the reality, whether I'm there in person teaching you, or whether I'm writing you a letter far away, here's what you need to do, you've got to own it, you've got to take it seriously. Now, I love how he immediately puts with that though, "For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. He never loses sight that, yes, of course, it's God working in you, you never get away from God working in you. Even when I engage it, it was God working in you. There's this mystery of the two, of God's sovereignty, but that doesn't remove the responsibility he's placed on us. And he says, hey, guy's that responsibilities there, whether I'm there or not. And I think for us coming off of this season, man, if you stand before Jesus one day and he goes, hey, what happened in 2020? Just seems like you stopped, you stopped engaging, you stop growing, you stopped. Are we going to look at him and go, yeah, but Jesus, you've got understand, there was a pandemic, and we could meet together. And you know, it was hard, and there were things going on. I think Jesus is going to look at it and go, wait, did you have a Bible? Do you have the Holy Spirit? Did I promise to meet with you? Did I say... I mean some of these things we use as an excuse, I think Paul would look at is go pandemic or not, no matter what's going on, man, you work out your salvation. Because it was never about you, God was always at work, those two go hand in hand.

Tim Lundy: 27:09 Now here's the other objection though that I'll get sometimes, that people will say, if you look at the next point in it, I rest in grace, not works. And this feels like legalism to them, what about grace? And there's this false thinking that anytime you teach on something you need to do, that if it's effort at all, it's not grace. Let me just say this, Dallas Willard has this great phrase in that, he says, grace is not opposed effort, it's opposed to earning. It's not opposed to effort, it's opposed to earning. When I'm doing these things, when I'm reading my Bible, when I'm praying, when I'm trying to do all these things to earn God's favor, that's not grace, that's religion, and that's not what I'm teaching. But in the same way, these exercises, these disciplines that require effort, not to earn God's favor, but because I've received God's favor. And this is what he's commanding me, in order that I can experience more life in him.

Tim Lundy: 28:20 See, it's far different, I'll us an illustration to think about it. You know, one of my favorite things is the Olympics. I love the Olympic games, especially, you know, that opening night when each country and their team, the whole Olympic team walks in together, and somebody's holding the flag from our country and they're all wearing the same outfit, they've got the Olympic gear on. And I can only imagine how awesome it would be to be a part of a team like that. Now, some of you watching this you've, you've done it. I think of Steve Barnett he was part of the Olympic team, and Meg Lane, you were part of the Olympic team. You know, that experience with that. Now, anytime you see those athletes coming in, they're on that team because they earned it, they qualified. Just getting there is an achievement, much less, whether they metal or anything else. They had to earn the opportunity to be part of the team, and then once they're on the team, they continue to train because they want to get better in that. The here's the difference for us, we're a part of God's team. The reality for each one of us though, is none of us could earn it, none of us could qualify, none of us had the right times, the right spiritual standards. God looks at us and says all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, it's because the standard is literally Jesus, and none of us are Him. But see, that's the great news about the gospel, he earned it for us, he paid for us.

Tim Lundy: 29:50 Maybe you're hearing this today, and I want to make sure it's really clear, if you don't have this clear. Man, the only way you ever experienced being a part of God's family is what Christ did on the cross. He earned it, but because he earned it, because by grace are part of God's team, part of God's family, it doesn't mean now that we're on the team, we just kind of look around and go, well, I'm on the team I'm in, I don't have to do anything else. No, Paul looked at it and he says, oh man, because I'm in, because of what Christ has done, man, it motivates me that much more. See, it's not earning, but it is effort. It is that disciplining of the body, so that I can experience that life that much more.

Tim Lundy: 30:42 So how do we do this? And as we finish out, I just want to give you real practical way of how do you put this in action. There's kind of five priorities for spiritual growth, and I'm talking about the most basic spiritual growth. You know, every year when Vince Lombardi would start out with the Green Bay Packers, one of the greatest coach, he would always start the first practice, he hold a football and he'd go, gentlemen, this is a football, let's start with the basics. And so I'm going to start with the basics, folks, this is a Bible, and it starts right here in the Bible, and our connection with God through prayer in that. So how do we put this in action? Let me walk you through these five.

Tim Lundy: 31:18 First, you've got to have a plan. You've got to have plan, a specific of what and when you're going to read the Bible. If you don't know what and when, a specific plan of what I'm going to read every day, and there's so many Bible plans out there, the YOUVersion plan,, all these different things, you can have your own plan that you lay out. But here's what I know, if you do not have a plan to read the Bible, then you are planning to not read the Bible. It is really that simple. So what's your plan? What is it you're going to read every day? And then when, during the day are you going to do that? Setting that time as fundamental as well.

Tim Lundy: 31:59 The second one with that, you need a process. How are you going to engage when you read? You know, years ago, I learned a process from Wayne Cordeiro over in Hawaii. And I've used it for years, I stopped for several years, I've restarted again because I realized I just need this simple process. And he teaches the soap process. You can look at it here. Soap, you see the letters, it's real simple. First the scripture reference, so I always take out a page or a notebook, I think it's good to have with it. And so I write out the verses that I read that day, and then I usually pick one or two verses and I write them out by hand. And the reason I do that is when you write triggers a different part of your brain than when you read. And so if there's a verse that stands out, I'll write that one out. And then you write observations. What's it saying? What's it mean? Just general observations about the passage. Now you may go, well, Tim, I'm not a Bible scholar, I don't know. Just make out what you can. You know, how many sites, you know, a great site is called, Got questions. It's an eight easy one to go to if you've got questions about the Bible. And so you just write down those observations, then I write down applications, not just what it meant in that, what does it mean to my life today? What's God saying to me today? What do I need to take away off of this? And then I'll pray. Sometimes I write out a little bit of a prayer, sometimes I just say that prayer, Sometimes I don't have words that I feel like I can pray, so almost daily I'll use the Lord's Prayer as a template. I just go through the Lord's Prayer, because Jesus taught us how to pray through that. See this process, it's simple, soap. I'm just telling you, I have been to seminary, did a four year program in seminary, did Bible college through that, I've learned Hebrew, I've learned Greek. I've done all this training with it, nothing, nothing, nothing has fed my life than this simple little process you used on a daily basis. And anybody can do it, but you need a process.

Tim Lundy: 33:59 Third thing, you need persistence, you've got to apply daily discipline until it becomes a habit. It takes 66 days to do something before truly a habit in your life, on average, you might go a little bit shorter, a little bit longer, but once you pass that point, you're not having to apply self-control anymore. Habits the invisible architecture of our life, it's been estimated 40% of your life is done by habit. So hopefully for you brushing your teeth is not something you have to discipline yourself to do. You don't think about, oh, I have to go brush my teeth, because it's become a habit in your life, and so it no longer takes any self-control to do that. See, what we don't realize is you only have so much self-control, you only have so much discipline, there's a tank of it actually in your life. And so you spend it on the things that have not become habitual yet. But if you'll do this, if you'll get a plan and put it in place for 60 days or so, then it becomes a habit and you no longer have to spend self-control on it. You don't want to have to make yourself do it. You no longer have to say, okay, I've got to get it. Because now it's a habit in your life, and you now can use that self-control on other things that you want to work on. So it takes persistence.

Tim Lundy: 35:16 Fourth thing, it takes partners, others who can connect challenge and encourage you. You need some running buddies, you need some workout partners, and I think this is one of our biggest failings. You know, you look at Peloton right now, there's a reason why Peloton is selling a bajillion of those stationary bikes. We've had stationary bikes forever, they not only sell you the bike, which is overpriced, they sell you a subscription to it. But I promise you this, you talk to people that have a Peloton, they swear by it, they love it, because they actually use it. You know why? It's not the bike, it's the community they've created, it's people you're riding with, it's a plan that's put in front of you. And I would say the same is true, you need some partners, other people that are reading along with you, other people that can encourage you, not discourage you, encourage you. People that, that when you talk about this, man, you can gain together.

Tim Lundy: 36:15 And this is why I'd say, sometimes we look to heroes of the faith, and I just get so discouraged. You know, you'll talk to some people, and they go, oh yes, I read through the Bible at least once a month. And I'm just telling you, I hear that and I'm like, ugh. Or I pray two to three hours a day, I'm glad for them, I can't do that. It reminded me when I was in college, my freshman year in college, I was so skinny, skinny as could be. And my roommate, he finally, he's talking to me, he goes, you know, we're never going to get dates, if we don't start working out. So I started trying to work out, and we would go over to the gym at the college. I was eating, I started taking protein shakes, just my metabolism was so high, I added about 4,000 calories a day just to try to gain weight, and even that, I barely would. And we'd go in the gym, and I used to hate it because we had to go the same time in the afternoon, and this one guy would always come in. He wasn't real tall, but man, when he took his shirt off, I mean, he was ripped, he lived in the gym. And he would go over, and even though he's a little guy, he always started with the bench press, and he always started with 300 pounds and then he'd go up from there. And I mean, I just would watch him, that was intimidating enough. Here was the most intimidating part, so I'd be on the corner, you know, lifting my little weights over there, and it never failed, he always would walk by, and he would scoff. He'd kind of go, hey, you got much more than the bar there? And it was just so demoralizing.

Tim Lundy: 37:47 And I think the same thing happens spiritually sometimes where people are trying to apply, they're trying to put this in action. And sometimes you hear about these spiritual giants, and they walk over and they go, oh, is that all you read? Oh, you only spend 10 minutes a day? I can't fathom, if I don't spend two hours a day. And I just look at it and go, hey, I'm so happy for you. But for those of us, you go lift your 300 pound weights in the corner, we're just trying to make this a part of daily life. You need partners that can encourage you.

Tim Lundy: 38:23 And then the final part with that is, I just say, pragmatism, whatever works for you, make it work. Whatever works for you. And I would just say on a reading plan catch up kills, and I'm not talking about the condiment ketchup, if ketchup killed, my kids would be dead, I promise you. I'm talking about catch up, catch up days. It never fails, you get a reading plan, and then you miss a few days, and then you open it up and you're like, oh, crud, I've got to read 29 chapters of Leviticus today to catch up, and we quit, it kills it all. Here's what I do, If I miss a day, I skip it. Whatever the plan said, just skip it, move on. It's a living book anyway, so it's alive today, it's going to speak to me today with what I need.

Tim Lundy: 39:08 I think the second part is ratchet, a ratchet. In fact, I brought a socket set, it's got the ratchet on it. You know, you'd love it if you were able to just spin always, and unscrew something, usually you're trying to get it in a tight space. So what do you have to do? Just a little bits at a time, and you ratchet it. But do you know what happens? You do a little bit, over time, it leads to big results. You can do this, and take a screw off a bolt. You can take a nut off a bolt, just by that little bit at a time. I'd say the same thing is true in your spiritual life, little steps, as you take them.

Tim Lundy: 39:49 So as we finish up today, I want you to look in your notes, there's three things I'm asking you to do. There's three things that are not on the screen, it's just in your notes there. The first one I want you to decide today, are you going to get in the game? Are you going to make a commitment before God that you go, you know what, I need this, I'm dying, and I'm going to do this. Secondly, this week, why don't you start real simple, then maybe over the course of this month, start with the Book of Proverbs. The great thing about Proverbs, there's 31 chapters, and so it corresponds to most months in it. And Proverbs is another one of those great books, you can start anywhere in it. And so whatever the day of the week is, read that chapter of Proverbs, just that chapter, and just match that chapter every day. Now I encourage you get a notebook, get a piece of paper, do the soap method with it. Just read that chapter, and then, hey, here's the scripture what's going on here? What's it say? What's it say to me? And how could I pray?

Tim Lundy: 40:51 Let's do this together over the course of this month. But in December, we're going to have a church wide reading plan over the month of December, that corresponds leading up to Christmas. And then in January, and this, remember I told you, we're gearing up in it. In January, we're going to start a project with Bible It's got videos, and it's got the plan laid out, but together as a church, we're going to read through the new Testament together over the course of 2021. And there'll be daily readings for us, we can correspond, we can correspond with your family, maybe your life group, some way to partner together. But in that, well read that over the course of the year. And we'll tell more about it, and how you can do. But for week, what if you just dove into Proverbs? And if you miss a day, no problem just correspond with the next day the next day then.

Tim Lundy: 41:41 The final thing I just ask you to do, start recruiting some partners now. Start talking to a friend, talk to your family, maybe as a family, you sit down with your kids and you look at them and go, hey, what if we committed to do that new Testament together through the year? What if we committed to read about it, and talk about it? We're going to be talking about it as a church, we're going to be reading through it. What if there's a life group, you make the commitment? You look at each other and go, hey, let's get in on this, let's figure out how we can support each other and encourage each other. See, instead of feeling beat down all the time, instead of feeling guilty, instead of feeling lifeless, what if we gear up now to get in the game. Guys, I'm excited because this isn't hard, but it is life changing. And I would encourage you join me, I'm doing this too. Join us as we mobilize as a church, as we take these simple tools, as we take just the simple ratcheting of it, and we let God bring big results in each of our lives.

Tim Lundy: 42:45 Let's pray together. Father, I do thank you, I thank you for your word, I thank you for the truth of it, I thank you for the opportunities we have, I thank you that we live in 2020. We live in a great age, and we want to be the people that are the most spiritually alive. Lord, I pray for anybody here that right now, the enemy is trying to convince them they can't do this. Would you expose that lie? Lord, would you mobilize any of us, that may be in our heart we kind of pull back in that sluggishness, and we say, I don't want to do this. Man, would we feel the command to work out our salvation. Lord, for each of us, I pray that you would continue to grow this longing for the living water, the living truth, that only comes from you, comes your word, comes from time with you, that we would hunger and thirst after it, at the deepest part of our life. We pray this in Christ' name. Amen.

Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032