Alan Stein is a performance coach who has worked with world-class athletes. He once crossed paths with 5-time champion and NBA great Kobe Bryant at a basketball camp. Stein asked Bryant if he could watch him train, and Bryant told him to show up the next day at 4:00 a.m.! When Alan showed up early the next day, Kobe was already in a full sweat. Kobe was working through many of the same exercises that one would teach a younger novice in the game. Alan wondered why Kobe would be working on drills like this and not something unique or more advanced. Kobe’s reply was, “Why do you think I’m the best in the world? I don’t get bored with the basics.”
1 Timothy 4:7b (New American Standard) says, “Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.” The word “discipline” comes from a Greek word that means “exercise”. We get the word “gymnasium” from this word. Godliness is the goal. Discipline is how we get there.
There are some fundamentals to getting in good physical shape – exercise, nutrition, rest. It’s the same whether we are 10 years old or 50 years old. They are basics.
Well, in order to develop spiritually, there are some basics that we need to work on, whether we are experienced in our Christian walk or we have just begun. We spend time in God’s Word. We pray. We praise and worship God. We thank Him for His blessings. We ask Him for the fullness of the Holy Spirit. We memorize Scripture. We look for opportunities to share our faith with others and be a witness for Christ. We serve the church in our area of giftedness. We connect with brothers and sisters in Christ – the church community. We faithfully give our money to help support God’s work in the church and in the world.
These are some of the basics – they are sometimes referred to as spiritual disciplines. They bring us closer to God, and we are stronger spiritually as we stay committed to practicing them in our lives.
Lord, thank You for these regular practices that bring me closer to You and help me be all that You want me to be. Help me not get bored with the basics but see how You are conforming me into Your image, little by little. For Your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.