Suppose one day you decide you need to up the ante on your physical fitness. You get off the couch, hop in your car and head to a nearby health club to check things out. When you walk in the door, you are greeted by a staff member who agrees to walk you from station to station, showing you each piece of state-of-the-art equipment. At the end of the orientation he asks if you’re ready to set up a fitness plan – a thought that makes you a little queasy.
Seeing your hesitation, the staff member tries to explain his rationale further: “You need a routine in order to work every muscle group properly and consistently as well as to keep track of how many repetitions you complete at which weight and chart your progress over time. Basically it’s the only way to avoid becoming unbalanced.”
Playing around is one thing; following an established regimen is quite another. It’s true with exercise equipment and it is true with prayer. But I get ahead of myself.
Looking around the fitness center, you see lack of balance running amok. A behemoth with bulging deltoids walks out of the free wight area. Still wearing his back belt, he tries to take a few laps around the track but stumbles and gasps in hopeless resignation. Another guy glides effortlessly around the track. Eyeing him, you figure he’s doing seven-minute miles without an ounce of strain registering on his face. But from his scrawny upper body appearance, you would venture a guess that his wife has to open the pickle jars and lug in the logs to stock the fireplace.
Health club instructors know that without a carefully structured plan we’re all likely to become unbalanced. That’s because we all tend to do what we enjoy and ignore the difficult or distasteful or untried.
–Bill Hybels from “Too Busy Not to Pray”