I grew up watching Mr. Rogers, and I recall he would often take 5 seconds to feed the fish as he walked through his house. This was just a quick reminder that others may be depending on us for some of their needs, and when we take just a little time to invest in them, they are better for it. Whether it is making sure the animals are fed, taking out the trash, doing the dishes, speaking words of love to your family, or any number of other daily routines, there are some habits we engrain into our routines because they are good for us, our families, and others we meet through the day. There are also habits that we can develop that may be more detrimental than beneficial to us or others, and these may be hard to change, even if we know they are bad for us. So, we are all probably a mix of some good and bad habits and disciplines, but what is most evident to others in your life? Have you ever asked?
So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. I Corinthians 9:26-27
Whatever we feed our minds shapes and forms us. This can be most anything and anyone we encounter each day from the TV shows and movies we watch, what we read, to the words of advice we consider from any source. The words we hear from our family, co-workers, the media, and our pastor on Sunday may also linger with us through the week. Just as we seek to give weight to one source and not another, we try to discern the truth from a world full of lies in the information we encounter each day. Do you give more weight to the words in the news or to the Word each day? If I look at where I invest my time and attention through the day, I am sometimes disappointed in how much time I waste on unfruitful things. I ought to know better, or at least be more disciplined at doing what is beneficial and trimming away at the things that are of no benefit. The same things Paul struggled with are real in my life as well!
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. I Thessalonians 5:11
Practice good or bad habits and the result is fairly predictable. You have surely seen the results many times in your own life and in those around you. Most of these disciplines are choices. I truly enjoy reading, but in recent time, reading books or time in scripture often seems to take a back seat to other disciplines and duties throughout the day, but it is still a choice I am making. Even the limited time I do spend is fruitful, so why the struggle? Am I taking on too many things, or are my priorities out of balance?
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2
What promises of God do you celebrate and stand on as truth? When you are struggling with difficult decisions or trying to just get through the day sometimes, where do you turn for strength? When His word dwells in our hearts and minds, it is much easier for us to be reminded of these truths when we need them. His word is living and active when it dwells within us and speaks to us.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9
As Mr. Rogers suggests, take a moment and thank those who invested in you and are a living illustration of love in your life. We all need someone we can look up to, and while God offers us the example of his Son, he also places people in our lives to show us how this is lived out in their love and encouragement of you and others. While none of us is perfect in this life, we all have the capacity to love and serve others, even if for a season. There were even people who were willing to love us. Think of a couple people who value your words and ask God how you can continue to be an encouragement to them and others in your own live. Always strive to live out your love in your words and actions toward others!
Strength and Courage in Christ,