In 1 Timothy 4:7 Paul encouraged Timothy to “…train yourself for godliness.” Often we forget that a godly life is the result of living with spiritual discipline. I recently read an article from Inc. magazine titled, “How Jerry Seinfeld Made His Millions”. The article indicates that Jerry Seinfeld made $267 million in his ninth and final season of his hit show Seinfeld. Even though he had decided to discontinue the show, NBC begged him to do another season and offered to pay him $55 million per episode! He declined.
Be that as it may, he still brings in over $32 million per year just through royalties from the shows rerun syndication. Not bad. But the article goes on to say that it wasn’t always that easy for Seinfeld. For many years he was a struggling comedian eking out a living, but all that began to change when Seinfeld disciplined himself to do two things: 1. Write jokes everyday… regardless of the quality, write something everyday. And 2. See the process as a “chain” and determine not to break the “chain.” To help him do that he took a big wall calendar and put a large red X on the calendar each day after he had completed the task. He would see the red X and determine not to have any daily gaps in this ongoing chain.
The article extracts two significant principles from Seinfeld’s practice. Noting them, I could not help but see their spiritual value, especially in light of Paul’s words from 1 Timothy 4:7, “train yourself for godliness.” Here they are:
- Doing something every day makes it a default behavior. And because that is true, you become proficient in the behavior. For example brushing our teeth for most of us is not a forced event, but rather a naturally ingrained repetitive act that has become part of our daily existence. It does not strain our life or challenge our routines… its just part of who we are.
But lets think about this in the spiritual life. In that regard this principle is powerful for training yourself to live a godly life… When you daily engage in spiritual disciplines like reading God’s Word and Praying, you become proficient and these disciplines become who you are and they then shape you into the godly image of Christ.
- Default behaviors repeated daily become habits. In other words when you repeat behaviors on a daily basis, those behaviors will become your personal habits. In effect you are retraining yourself and working against the natural inclination to procrastinate. The frequency of a habit always results in improvement.
This principle in our spiritual life is reflected through habits that honor God. As a result of training ourselves in accordance with the truth of God, the practice of His Word reprograms our minds and behavior always resulting in spiritual life improvement.
I might add, unfortunately, this also works in the negative as well as the positive, that is, if you repeat daily a behavior that is destructive, and you cultivate destructive habits, you will become, sadly, proficient in destructive behavior as well.
These two principles may not make you as wealthy as Jerry Seinfeld, but when applied to your spiritual life, they’ll make you and others extremely rich in Christ Jesus.
It’s so good to be back! A great big thanks to Chuck, James and Bob for the excellent job they did in my absence. Thanks also RBC for allowing me this time of renewal and refreshment each year. I have much to bring you in the months ahead as a result of my time away and with the Lord.
Remember, God is always trying to take you someplace new. I love being your Pastor!
For God’s Glory Alone,