After a long winter, you wonder if things will ever change. The first day of spring is a wonderful time – flowers and colors appear, birds sing, clouds clear, gentle breezes blow and the sun begins to shine. It is a time of refreshing and encouraging renewal. New life emerges.
For some, Spring is a time for daydreams, play and an escape from reality. For the farmer, Spring is a time for ploughing and planting. The winter’s plans give impetus to responsibility, motivation and enthusiastic activity. It’s time to get to work to make those God-given dreams a reality. Break ground. Plant some seeds for a future harvest. Focus your motivation into action.
Effective people not only have dreams, goals and plans. They are willing to work hard and to take responsibility for turning their plans into energy, perspiration and effort. They don’t sit back and wait for someone else to turn their plan into action. They take charge of executing their own plan. You have to take responsibility for your own harvest. Others can help, but you are responsible for what you eventually reap.
We are called to be "doers" of God’s word and of God’s will. God desires us to be people of action. After all, a vision or a dream becomes effective only when it is translated into action. We need a balanced perspective between God's sovereignty and human responsibility. God works, but we must work too (Phil. 2:12-13). God will not do it all for us. Things don't just happen as we sit around. On the other hand, we can't accomplish God's will just through our own effort alone. There is a balance. We must live one day at a time, yet we must live with the future in mind.
Change comes through action, through doing, not just through talking and thinking. Knowledge doesn't change the world, action does. The Christian life is to be a life of action. [Jesus was a doer of God's will (John 4:34; Acts 1:1-2; 10:38). The disciples were people of action ("Acts" of the apostles). We are called to be doers of His will. (Mt. 6:10; Jas. 1:22-25)]. Love is evidenced by obedience to Christ's commands. Sermons don't change you. Obedience to the truth does. "Simulation exercise".
It is good to have a vision, but without discipline, a goal or vision will never be accomplished. Here are some examples. An athlete disciplines himself so that he may be able to perform his best in the competition (His eyes are on the prize). A soldier disciplines himself so that he may be prepared for the battle and be strong enough to overcome. A farmer disciplines himself to prepare and maintain the land so that he may reap the harvest. Paul disciplined himself so that he might fulfill the task that God had given him (1 Cor. 9:24-27. 1 Tim. 4:7-10. Gk. gymnazo – to exercise vigorously the mind or body; to train and practice an act or profession, striving earnestly to become godly). Each of these examples involves a specific goal that is worked towards by a clearly defined strategy. The goal will only be reached through discipline, training, exercise, hard work and time.
Take action! Daily decision-making. What should I be doing? Why? Don't say "yes" too quickly. Learn to say "no" without feeling guilty. Don't overcommit yourself. Balanced "commitment" (not lazy or driven). Stress comes from over-commitment. Trying to do too much in an allotted time period. Be realistic. If you can't do it, don't say you will.
The rewards of the disciplined life are great. There is the immediate joy of a disciplined life and the fulfilment that comes from positive achievement and accomplishment (this brings freedom and confidence). There is the long-term sense of meaning, purpose and direction to life. Finally, there is the eternal reward and blessing for obedience and "good works" done for God and others.
Tomorrow … some more thoughts for Spring.