For it is by grace you have been saved...

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

To Be or Not to Be...Consistent

Wow.  After a whole month of arranging for a post every single day in April, I fell off the edge here and it’s been over a week now since I’ve posted anything.  Our family skipped town for awhile, but before leaving I did manage to arrange one new post, but then...nothing.

Consistency.  It’s always been a bit of a problem for me doing this blogging thing; I’ve even mentioned it before.  I’ve had the same trouble with the offline form of journaling.  I read something like David Brainerd’s Diary, or the journals of some other great saint and I get challenged to leave a written legacy for my family, etc.  Often, it goes for maybe a month or two and then...nothing.

I think I have a half dozen or so notebooks that I started as hand written journals, since if you’re going to journal anyway, I always thought it would be good to have it in your own hand, not just a typed page.  But each of those goes for awhile and then…nothing.

In a way, those unfinished journals and this inconsistent blog serve as sad reminders of a struggle I’ve often faced in my spiritual life in general: Inconsistency. 

It seems as though my pilgrimage of faith moves forward in spits and spurts rather than in a nice forward moving progression.  If Bunyan’s Pilgrim had his occasional foray off the path, or his one little nap on the side of the road; it seems that I sometimes take a holiday at the inn.  And while having just returned from vacation I can tell you that a rest now and then is a good thing, too many vacations in our faith can be dangerous indeed.

It’s not that I somehow jump off the path of pilgrimage and move into Vanity Fair for a few months (to keep the Bunyan references going).  I don’t run into paganism, leaving faith behind.  I don’t have what may be considered major “lapses.”  I’m just talking more about inconsistency.

Take my study of God’s Word.  As a pastor, I obviously have to do that on a regular basis because I have to have something to present twice every Sunday and once during the week at minimum.  But when it comes to my own study, for my own education and edification, I often go in those spits and spurts.  I read faithfully for a time and then I use the excuse of busyness or whatever, and my reading falls into the perfunctory category.

My prayer life can be the same.  There are times when my communion with God seems sweet and satisfying, while other times my inconsistency makes me feel like I need to begin the conversation with: “I’m sorry, I know it’s been awhile, do you remember me?”  Not exactly the portrait of praying “without ceasing.”

Other aspects of my life of faith often endure similar fluctuation.  If my spiritual journey were recorded on a graph, it would have more ups and downs than the stock market.

Now, I know to some degree that’s normal.  I’ve often heard and often repeated that in our spiritual life, the journey has those ups and downs, and the goal is that the ups get higher and the downs not so low.  But it still frustrates me. 

I want to be consistent, I really do.  I want to be on a straight and narrow path, with no turning to the left or the right, with no sputters and stops along the way.  I would like to be the kind of guy who has a blog post scheduled a certain number of times a week/month and never misses.  Of course, I realize that the number of blogs I post, the number of times I “miss” ultimately has nothing to do with my overall spiritual health, etc.  My lack of finished journal notebooks won’t keep me out of heaven.  It’s not about my performance anyway, but that of Christ.

But I want to be more consistent in my acknowledgement of His Work, and my obedience to His commands.  I want to live in His grace daily, soak in His presence regularly, and share of His Word faithfully. 

So, let this be the lesson.  If I become less consistent here, and those two or three people who stop by here often enough to notice do in fact notice, just let it prompt you to pray for me.  Pray for me to consistently live in and for Christ, for His fame and glory. 

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