How to Remain Connected to the Vine: A Plan to Sustain Spiritual Health
First, I think one key is to accomplish the work that God sets in front of oneself as this sustains one spiritually. Jesus said He had food to eat that the disciples didn’t know about, this was to do the will of the Father. This does not mean that a pastor has to fill all the roles that everyone has in their mind for them, but His job is described in scripture and involves caring after the Lord’s flock. I have a busy schedule now, but the work I do involves training in this Masters of Ministry program. I try to learn with all my ability the useful things in each course so I may be a better witness. The things on my plate I try to do in the name of the Lord and I think that means to the best of my abilities and in His strength. I think the Lord sustains a person to do the chores set before one and actually it spurs one on to do more because it is the will of the Father. The key I think is that the will of the Father may be to delegate and let disciples step up to do certain tasks, to enable a pastor to be in the Word and have a lot of devotion time to pray.
Prayer and time in the Word are essential to everyday life for a Christian. I can tell when I feel dry spiritually. I need His Word to nourish me and I need communication to commune with God and draw close to the Lord. Praying sets a person up for God’s guidance and presence in one’s life. A man or woman of God must be men and women of prayer by definition. I think that scheduling a set time on the calendar to pray safeguards that time and ensures time for this foundational activity of a man of God. I think that it is important that the instruction of praying without ceasing, which takes discipline and the Holy Spirit, be something always something to be pursued. I fall short in this command, but when on a walk or in the car or even while at work or recreation one should be in constant prayer. There should be time set apart for prayer but on the other hand prayer should be a constant in all times. I think that Jesus modeled needing time that He withdrew and that this was a special time of prayer. My plan is to set apart a chunk of time to pray each day, and not only this, but if I feel dry or emotions telling me I need a special time of withdrawing then I know that I need to do just that withdraw and pray. Even fast if need be. An Olympic athlete goes all out in his training and doesn’t apologize for doing what is necessary to assist in him winning. As men of God we sometimes still want to leave one foot as regular people and one foot attempt to be spiritual when proper. I think that living like Jesus and walking like He did is by nature radical and we need to do radical things like seek God through fasting and prayer by withdrawing and other ways to seek God in a deep way. The Spirit intercedes with groans and so often we want to damper our yearning for God because it may be misunderstood and it is not normal. Right now I want to chisel out a half hour devoted to prayer and shoot for more than that each day. This is very important for me now as I am very busy, but also take advantage of times when I can pray all during the day also.
I think time to read the Word and let God speak to one’s soul is vital. Blocking out time for this is important because a preacher who is not being shown precepts and truths from God is not in tune with what the Spirit is desiring that the preacher share with God’s flock. I am not a preacher now but I am dry spiritually without God pouring out His Word into my heart. I need time daily to be searching and seeking in God’s Word. I want to try to be more disciplined and schedule time in the morning to read and in the evening also. I am more alert in the evening but I think that starting the day with the word is very important and is a way I fall short. I read how Billy Graham read five Psalms each day I think in the morning. I have always looked up to Billy Graham as a true man of God.
I think devotion to education about the Bible and subjects that can assist one in their witness are important also. For instance, learning Hebrew and Greek, and maybe another language to speak to others about the word is a goal of mine.
All this also requires time to decompress and rejuvenate and right now I am trying to walk about a half hour each day to help keep my body in shape, which is not the case now. I think that entertainment is important to a limited degree. I find TV useless and actually temptation in many ways. I think that it is important to have interests that one can do to enjoy life, but it is also important to prioritize these under God’s work.