by Alyssa Robinson
In this week’s YouVersion Reading Plan, Day 1 introduces us to the idea of spiritual practices as a form of training. Just like an athlete or musician trains to become more adept at their craft, spiritual practices train us to be more like Jesus. Click here to make Trietsch your home church and receive weekly reading plans.
The Day 1 reading ended with three reflection questions:
- What am I currently practicing that does not make me more like Jesus?
- Who do I need to ask to come alongside me to help me train?
- What should I start practicing to make me more like Jesus?
That first question really rang in my ears. I’ve spent my whole life studying what I can do to be more like Jesus. I even wrote a blog post a few weeks ago titled, “How can I be more like Jesus?” But I don’t know if I’ve specifically asked myself what I’m doing that does NOT make me more like Jesus.
As I was thinking more about the sports analogy, I remembered my own experience as an athlete. When I was a competitive swimmer, every now and then we would have swimming workshops. We would watch videos of some of the best swimmers in the world to break down their technique movement by movement. Then, our coaches would film us with underwater cameras so we could watch our own technique side by side with those swimmers. Of course, learning what to do is a huge part of improvement, but learning what NOT to do was equally important.
Our coaches would point out habits we were unaware of, like head movements or hand positioning. They would tell us we must stop these habits if we want to get to the next level.
It makes sense to me that the same concept would apply to my spiritual practices. I can read my Bible, spend time in prayer, and serve others, but if I don’t make any attempt to quit bad habits, then I’m not transforming to become more like Christ. I want my relationship with God to constantly change and improve. I don't want to remain stagnant in my faith.
So what am I currently practicing that does not make me more like Jesus? Here are the top three:
I could write an entire blog post about each of these obstacles. These are just three of the ways I don't act like Jesus, almost every day. So what can I do about this?
After I saw my swimming technique and my coaches pointed out the problems, they would always give the same advice. Now that you know your issues, pay attention to them. Overcorrect them in the beginning. These adjustments will feel weird and unnatural, but if you’re persistent and you give it time, it will start to become your new habit.
I think I can do the same with spiritual practices. I know what I struggle with that is counter to Jesus. Maybe in the beginning I need to overcorrect. For me, this would mean using the spiritual practices to focus on those negative tendencies. In my prayer life I can ask to stay open to others' experiences. I can read scriptures that help me feel at peace and let go of worries. Maybe I can confess my sin of gossip to a community I trust so they can help me work on it. It will be hard, and it will feel weird and unnatural in the beginning. Hopefully, over time, these spiritual practices can become my new habit.
Would you like to learn more about spiritual practices? Listen to this week’s Life + God Podcast episode in which Alyssa and Denise Robinson ask the question, “Why do spiritual practices matter?” Listen here or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also create a Blueprint for Spiritual Wellness to learn how you can personally improve your spiritual practices.