Making decisions takes effort. Making hard decisions takes more effort. Making decisions to be godly in the face of temptation takes enormous effort (and spiritual power!).
A good word for this is discipline. And I reckon we’re all built with a certain amount of discipline… A certain amount we can handle each day. Just like our other muscles (which are powered by God’s strength), our discipline muscle can grow stronger and can get exhausted.
If that’s the case, it seems wise to…
- Consider your day; if you’re going to be going out with mates and possibly having a beer, you’ll want to have heaps of disciple energy in reserve…
- Consider your nights; if you’re not getting enough sleep, that’s going to severely deplete your discipline reserve.
- Consider the times you’ve sinned; have they been at certain times of the week? Possibly after big draining events (like exams, deadlines, late-shifts, arguments)?
This whole thinking about discipline is why it’s better to setup scheduled direct transfer giving. You decide on your donation when you’re in the best frame of mind, and you follow through on your intentions even when you wouldn’t have the discipline to do it.
What other areas of your Christian life can you do like that?
Often when we talk about how much energy we have, we have the idea in our head that a certain amount of energy means we should be able to achieve a certain amount of output. That is, we assume human energy levels are like petrol levels in a car… if I have a full “energy” tank, I should be able to go 8 hours doing “stuff”.
But that’s not how energy levels usually work.
Usually, a person’s energy levels are a reflection on their expectations on their upcoming work. If they are excited about what they are going to do, they have a certain amount of energy for it. If they are scared or overwhealmed by the amount of work they have to do, their energy levels seem to drop.
It might seem a bit simplistic, but the best way to ensure you have the energy you need is to, a) lower your self-expectations and just go for small parts of big projects (just send 1 email, just make 1 call, just read 4 pages) and b) raise your vision and our purposes; help yourself see that the end goal or outcome is worthy and exciting and… energising.
That’s why gospel work (i.e. “good work”) is great. My outcome expectations are in the hands of God, and the purpose driving me is eternal and glorious.
That’s meant to be a hypothetical question. But it’s one we need to keep asking ourselves when we get into “complain mode”. Have you noticed how draining and energy wasting it is to complain? Complaining really saps the energy out of you. It leaves you feeling tired and spent. In other words, it’s a big waste of energy.
The question should be, “Am I going to expend any energy towards actually resolving this problem?” If I’m not… then it’s not worth expending any energy complaining about the problem.
So when someone comes and complains about what someone said, or what someone did… just interrupt and ask them… “Before you go on, do you have any plans to go and speak to this person and encourage them to do it differently next time? No? Do you expect me to? No? Then maybe it’s not worth wasting energy wingeing about them to me.”
Put some people in front of an audience, and they have to try so hard to affect the mood in the room. Shouting and jumping around will likely only cause embarrassment, rather than excitement.
Put other people in front of an audience, and all they have to do is half-a-smile… and bam! There’s something electric in the room. Everyone’s alert and excited. They’ve got some ability to inject energy into the room.
Thank you God for those people.