Imagine a leaky faucet. Regardless of how you hard you twist the knob, it still drips. One drop at a time. Incessantly—drip, drip, drip. The consistency becomes an annoyance pretty quickly. But put in the right environment and given enough time, that same dripping with that same consistency can have an immense amount of power.
That’s how canyons are made. Not all at once, but through the power of consistency.
Dripping isn’t that exciting, but what it lacks in flash it makes up for in effectiveness. There’s a lot to be said for the power of consistency.
When we lead people in the way of discipleship, one of the issues we must deal with is the boring nature of it all. I mean, there are only so many ways you can “spice up” the habits that characterize consistent growth in Christ.
In the end, there will be many days when you and the people you lead won’t feel like reading the Bible. They won’t feel like praying. They won’t feel like memorizing Scripture or serving or doing any of the other practices of spiritual development. Consequently, we might be tempted to reframe or describe spiritual growth as some grand adventure completely free of drudgery. While it’s true that at times growing in Christ will feel like that, it’s also true that many times it won’t.
In the end, what we’ll find is that consistency wins over excitement time and time again. And here are a few reasons why:
1. Consistency emphasizes faith over experience. What makes someone get up and do the same thing day after day after day regardless of whether they feel like it or not? You could argue that it’s simply being a creature of habit, but you could also say that such action is driven forward by faith.
You do the same spiritual practices because you genuinely believe that the Bible is the Word of God. You truly believe God hears you when you pray. The alternative to this kind of consistency is a life driven by experience. If that’s the case, your spiritual development is like a yo-yo moving up and down with the flippancy of emotion.
2. Consistency causes roots to grow deep. When you opt for consistency over excitement, you are developing the kind of practices that will carry you through the seasons of spiritual dryness all of us will encounter. In other words, your roots are growing deep.
When we integrate the same, repeated practices into our lives, day after day, we will find that when we eventually don’t feel anything, when we are suffering, when we simply can’t pray anymore, that our roots will have extended well past the shallows.
3. Consistency works into other areas of life. One of the side benefits of this kind of spiritual discipline is that it will work into other areas of life as well. You’ll find, I believe, that not only are you disciplined “spiritually” but physically, emotionally, and mentally as well. But then again, that’s why “spiritually” is in quotes, because I seem to remember Jesus saying that we should love God not only spiritually but with every part of ourselves.
Time is a powerful ally. Drip, drip, drip. One drop at a time. And slowly, the landscape changes.
Michael Kelley lives in Nashville, TN, with his wife, Jana, and three children: Joshua (10), Andi (7), and Christian (5). He serves as Director of Groups Ministry for Lifeway Christian Resources. As a communicator, Michael speaks across the country at churches, conferences, and retreats and is the author of Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal: A Boy, Cancer, and God; Transformational Discipleship; and Boring: Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life. Find him on Twitter: @_MichaelKelley.