Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12, NLT).
I have three non-negotiable pursuits each day:
- Praying and reading my Bible
- Talking to my wife
Yes, I have a goal to have devotions, exercise, and spend time with my wife every day. These three cords are non-negotiable. I plan my day around them and resist seemingly urgent matters that arise daily to challenge my three pursuits.
I call them pursuits because an attitude of growing and increasing in my relationships with God, with my wife, and with myself provides the motivation for my three core disciplines.
If I stop pursuing, I believe the desire for my three cords will wane.
Love is pursuit.
An idiot once said, “We pursue our lovers, and when we catch them, the joy is gone.” Nonsense – keep pursuing. I have pursued my wife for 46 years and still haven’t caught her!
She still mystifies me.
It’s the same with God. Pursue Him with righteousness. The Apostle Paul writes . . .
But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness (1 Timothy 6:11).
The Greek word for “pursuit” comes from a word that means “to hunt.” Yes, the thrill of the hunt should motivate us to continue disciplines. It’s a never-ending chase, with a new discovery of joy over every hill.
Why have I settled upon three core disciplines? I think my disciplines of relationship with God, others (my wife), and self (staying healthy) allow me to enjoy my life.
My earthly father had the same disciplines, and Psalm 103 teaches that righteousness is passed from generation to generation. When my dad was older, he explained why he didn’t overeat, “I may not have long to live, but I want to feel good in my remaining years.”
Amen! Healthy habits are key to overcoming depression and discouragement.
Every day I rise early for prayer and Bible reading (and memorization), I either ride my bicycle or go to a gym for weightlifting, and I look forward to dinner with my wife.
That’s my cord of three strands for spiritual, emotional, and physical fitness.
In my early years as a pastor, I had to learn that my health came first. I lasted 49 years as the pastor of one church, not because I responded to every emergency or whim in a parishioner’s life – I learned to balance my life in a way that allowed me to fulfill my pastoral role but also didn’t compromise my three cords.
I once had a man who had a need, but I didn’t call him, so he left a Post-it® note in my mail slot at the church saying that he was leaving the church. First, I didn’t know he had the need, and second, I was on vacation with my family.
Overcoming the emotional blackmail that the needs of others, the urgencies of some situations, and even our own feelings of guilt can place upon us is essential in keeping core disciplines.
You’ve learned my three non-negotiables. I think they should be the same for all of us!