Isolating Spiritual Disciplines

Every expert athlete knows the value of isolating one muscle, technique, or practice and focusing all of one’s energy on perfecting it. Jeff explains how the same thing is true when it comes to our spiritual life—sometimes, instead of trying to do many spiritual things at once, we need to choose one practice and exercise it over and over again until it becomes a habit.

Being a Good Disciple in Hard Times
  • You need start preparing in the good times to be ready for the hard times.
  • Sometimes things get overwhelming.
Key Disciplines to Being a Good Man or Woman of God
  • It can be easy to focus on the equipment for anything you are “into” in life rather than focusing on the activity.
    • This can happen in our religious life as well.
      • We “need” bible, rosary, catechism…
    • Sometimes we think just having the equipment will make us feel like we have made an accomplishment.
    • We need to actually use the equipment, the emphasis needs to be on the disciplines, not the equipment that assists us.
    • It’s not the equipment. It’s the practice.
  • The key to growing spiritually is to not look at the whole thing and get overwhelmed but taking things in parts.
    • Isolate each act from the whole and perfect it.
    • Work on the parts that are the most difficult for you to build muscle memory.
    • Repetition will eventually make the actions automatic and part of your life.
 Scriptures to Help our Focus
  • It can be very difficult to focus on one topic and not get distracted.
  • Philippians 3:13-14 – 13 Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
  • Hebrews 12:1-2 – 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
  • Psalm 27:4 – 4 One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.
  • Luke 10:41-42 – 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; 42 one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.”
  • Mark 10:21 – 21 And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
  • Ephesians 5:15 – 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil.
Implementing This into Our Lives
  • Learning spiritual life and making progress in it is like learning a new language.
    • Focus on words one at a time and know that you will occasionally fail at the beginning.
    • Over time you will have a new skill in your life.
    • For an inspiring series designed to help participants live their faith more fully through daily prayerful meditation with Scripture (lectio divina) try Walking Toward Eternity One  and Walking Toward Eternity Two.
  • Some areas to isolate:
    • Adjusting from work to home
      • Start focusing on the ride home on your attitude and what you want to say.
      • Remind yourself who you want to be when you get home.
    • Avoiding sin traps
      • Alcohol , pornography, buying…
      • When you are driving start developing discipline in your life.
        • Take a different route, don’t bring money…
      • Praying in the morning
        • When you get up in the morning change your routine
        • Take a half hour and work on adding prayer
      • Reading the bible
        • Pick a time of the day and add it in
      • Eating junk food
        • Make a list of them and how they make you feel then try to avoid them each day
      • Reduce TV habits
        • Pick a show or two you can cut out
      • Going to mass more than once a week
        • Try to just go one other day a week to start.
      • Praying with your children before bed
      • Practicing humility at work over envy
      • Practicing kindness
      • Make getting to mass on time a priority
    • Make your own list this week

More Great Resources from Jeff

Find free blogs, videos, and resources about Scripture and the Catholic faith at

Learn more about The Great Adventure Bible Timeline and preview any study for free.

For an easy way to transform your approach to reading Scripture, check out Jeff’s Bible Timeline Chart.

For an illustrated resource introducing God’s love story to children while helping them to understand how the Catholic Church is the body of Christ on Earth try The Great Adventure Storybook.

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