Blogging for the new year?

Here’s how I hope to keep up on a discipline I’ve failed to do for years and years.

So my new year’s resolution is to have some discipline in the new year. It’s not that I completely lacked discipline before, but that I always see the need to improve in that department. The weird part is that developing discipline is not quite a thing in itself as much as it is seeking to change your habits form bad ones to good ones. You don’t gain discipline by seeking to develop discipline in the abstract, but by more directly seeking the things you should (and as a result ignoring the things you shouldn’t).

The Christian life is, in the end, not so much about primarily avoiding things, but seeking after things; primarily seeking after the God who is the proper object of our affections, but also concretely seeking the things that mark such an ultimate pursuit. As Paul says in his letter to the Philippians:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, sbut in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, vwhich surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:4-9, ESV)

Notice that Paul doesn’t leave his hearers seeking to *not* do something primarily, but to avoid the evil by seeking the good. You don’t become a lover of truth by hating lies (or false news, or whatever you call it), but by seeking truth. You gain joy by thinking on worthy things, you become a man of prayer by seeking communication with God, you avoid sin by seeking to be holy etc.

This year, I’m trying (yet again) to become a regular blogger. I am not sure it will work out, but I think my failures in the past can be informed by some of my recent successes in discipline. I have found myself more able to spend time in the Word, and in prayer, not by seeking to be a man of prayer and the Word, but by keeping love in mind, and acting accordingly. That’s how I power the long obedience in one direction that is discipline.

The prayer list program was helpful, but what drove me to my knees more regularly was the memory that I loved the people I was praying for, and I loved the God I was communicating with (and I realized that love was as much long-term action as it was gushy feelings). I found it easier to keep to my Bible reading schedule because I wanted to hear from the God I love. The discipline came as I held that before me and acting accordingly.

Hence the renewed interest in blogging. I am commanded to tell of the glories of God, and to reflect on His goodness in my life, living as Paul did, an example of godliness (not perfection). So here I am aiming to reflect on how God is teaching me, and share it with you, my readers.

I have no idea if this will bring me the discipline (and the ultimate joy) of daily blogging. Telling of how God is working all things together for my good mediately, and His glory ultimately. But that is the goal.

One year from now, lets see how it went.

Keep me in coffee

The author is often highly caffeinated. Keep him that way!

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Of Diligence and Dissipation

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing,
while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.
Proverbs 13:4

Work is Good
Most people know that one needs to work in order to see good things come about. Well, maybe fewer people see it these days than in other generations, but it is clear that one cannot expect to get things without some level of work. Of course, everybody knows that. I do too.
Yet, I find in myself the problem isn’t the desire to avoid work, or to sit idly, or to stay in bed too long in the morning. No, the issue I find is that I have so many small things I can do or focus on that will take me away from real work. Some of it even masquerades as meaningful activity while actually being largely valueless, or worse, is of value, but of little value compared to the time you find yourself putting into it.

Dissipated Energy
I’d like to say it is as easy as cutting out <insert popular time-wasting social media here> or video games, or television or some such. The problem I find is more insidious, and harder to pin down. Small diversions become big problems. It’s such a large issue that the writer of proverbs feels the need to mention it twice (Proverbs 6:10-11; 24:33-34):
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest,
and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
and want like an armed man.

It’s like how a mighty river can be largely dried up by a series of small irrigations taken from it. No one person is making a big dent in the amount of water passing by, but when hundreds, thousands, or more people all take water from a great river, the result is that all the water is used, and at the end, none is left.
Time is like that. No matter how much time it looks like we have, it is dribbling away at a constant rate, and will eventually be all used up. The question is whether we will use our time while we have it, and we will use our time, it’s flowing by at a constant rate. The question is what we will use it for as it flows by.

Larger Stakes than we think:
Of course, what holds true for physical matters (nb. 2 Thess. 3:10) also holds true for the spiritual. While we Christians are not saved by our works, it is clear that our ability to see and rejoice in Christ, to avoid open sin, and to do the good, will be somewhat dependent on our working out our salvation. One cannot be washed in the word of Christ if one doesn’t actually read the word of Christ, and one isn’t repenting of sin if they don’t actually do the work of breaking old sinful patterns of behavior, and work at placing their eyes and desires on what truly matters (Christ). Indeed, for the sake of this goal, we need to be careful even of our seeking worldly wealth,
It is not simply that we must work so that we may be rich in this life (as is no doubt true), but that we must be careful to choose the best things for our time so that when all time has run out, we might be rich in the wealth that truly matters: God.