We’re all hardwired to follow habits. They help us traverse daily life without needing to think about what we’re doing. But not thinking about what we’re doing can sometimes be a problem.
Everything can be a habit. So it’s good practice occasionally to question what we do. The routine parts of our lives are especially ripe for evaluation because a routine is nothing more than a habit.
Left unquestioned, our habits can lead us to a life on autopilot. That means we’re going nowhere because our habits can remove intention from living. Not living with intention means not extracting the joy from life that’s ours to have right here and now.
That’s why about four years ago I started looking for a way to revitalize my discipleship. I wanted a new tradition that would provide perspective and renewal for the spiritual aspect of my life.
Developing a new tradition
The Savior once taught, “Seek, and ye shall find.” Well, I sought. Here’s what I found.
What portion of scripture qualifies as an instruction manual on discipleship? Could any passage qualify more that the Savior’s own words to His disciples in the Sermon on the Mount? I think not.
Incorporating a Sermon on the Mount study tradition into my scripture study rhythm seemed natural. But what would it look like?
I felt prompted to divide the Sermon on the Mount into smaller pieces for daily devotion. But how many pieces? Forty came to mind. Curious, I wondered what the scriptures had to say about this quantity. As it turns out, quite a bit!
Obviously, my study needed to last 40 days.
I needed more than just intellectual exercise. So I included key questions like “How can I better live this aspect of discipleship?” and “What more can I do or what can I change to live this principle more fully?” I identify an action to take and then resolve to complete that action that very day.
This is where the real power of the study lies.
Only with action do we achieve our full potential. Only with action do we develop and show true discipleship of Jesus Christ. The day after I take action, I start my study by reviewing the results. Then I look for the action I should take that day.
An annual tradition
My first time with this study was hugely successful. I adopted it as a personal annual tradition of spiritual renewal. Knowing I needed 40 days for the study, and seeing New Year’s Day as symbolic of renewal, I developed a schedule in which the last 40 days of the year are devoted to this study. That means the study starts November 22nd.
The next two years of this tradition brought additional enlightenment and growth. I’m far from perfect and am still the walking construction zone I’ve always announced myself to be. But I intend on keeping this end-of-the-year tradition for the rest of my life.
I’ll be starting again on Sunday, so if you’d like to join me, click the link below to download a free copy of the schedule.
Your focus determines your reality. Developing an annual tradition of spiritual renewal has helped to shift my focus towards the weightier matters. And that has made my reality all the brighter. You can make your reality brighter also. Adopt my annual tradition or develop one of your own. Your reality will become right when you focus on the right things.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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