EL CAJON, Calif. (BP)–Treadmills are high-tech slave drivers, but I do like the heartbeat control function. Subtract your age from 220 to find your maximum safe workout heartbeat. Multiply that number by .60 and .85 and get your upper and lower heartbeat limits while on the treadmill. The midpoint between the upper and lower limit is your target heart rate.
Enter that number and the treadmill will use a combination of speed and steepness to keep your heartbeat consistently on your target.
Need a more consistent spiritual heartbeat in your own Christian life? Feel up and down like a yo-yo, being controlled by a giant “on” and “off” switch? Do you go from glow to low without your say-so?
Where’s the power? Where’s the consistency? What’s the solution?
— The reason for inconsistency.
We are consistently inconsistent. While inconsistency is “normal,” it is no more “normal” than sin, and should be no more tolerated than sin. Inconsistency is caused by our flesh … our sin nature … our fallen humanity.
Paul gives us the best illustration of inconsistency in the Bible as he described his own struggle with his sin nature (Romans 7:7-24). When he was told “no” by the law, everything in him cried “Yes.” He was like a child told, “don’t eat that cookie.” He wanted to obey, but couldn’t — cookie gone.
— The road to consistency.
Thankfully, the Apostle Paul related not only his struggle with inconsistency, but the only solution he found as well.
“So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 7:25-8:2).
Paul says Christ is the answer to inconsistency. Christ was consistent in His own life; and with the Spirit living His life through us, we can be consistent as well. The most important thing you and I can do to develop consistently strong spiritual hearts is to make progress daily in yielding ourselves to the Spirit of God in us that we might have the mind of Christ in all things (1 Corinthians 2:16; Ephesians 5:18).
There are some practical things we can do to empower consistency on a daily basis.
1. The power of habits. Habits can be used for good or ill. Proverbs 22:6 says that teaching a child something over and over is the best way to ensure that it sticks with him as an adult. If you haven’t made habits out of a daily devotional time, church attendance, tithing … you are making a habit out of being inconsistent.
2. The power of accountability. Ask someone to ask you about your life on a regular basis. That positive peer-pressure will force you to clean it up. Find someone who will “stir up love and good works” in you, and you in them (Hebrews 10:24).
3. The power of purpose. Jesus asked the lame man, “Do you want to be made well?” (John 5:6). God wants us to wrestle with what we really want in life. Purpose to start living a more consistent spiritual, physical, and emotional life. (See Jesus’ purposefulness in Isaiah 50:7 and Luke 9:51.)
4. The power of planning. Purposefulness should lead to planning, and plans become a road map to the future. Make plans to be a more consistent spouse, parent, Christian, and put those plans in writing. The Lord will honor and empower your desires (Proverbs 16:9).
5. The power of rewards. There are rewards coming for those who have lived lives of consistent stewardship of their spiritual blessings. Seek the rewards God offers by building consistency into your life (Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
You can keep your power switch “on” all the time by becoming “consistently consistent.”
Don’t worry — your life won’t become a treadmill. But your spiritual heartbeat will stay “in the zone” and keep you equipped to handle whatever life brings your way.
David Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point for God, senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif., and chancellor of San Diego Christian College (formerly Christian Heritage College). For more information on Turning Point, visit www.TurningPointOnline.org.