In the last few months, I started working out. Some people absolutely love working out. I am not that person. It’s not that I’m not coordinated or athletic, I just hate the pain involved. And I’m undisciplined.

If I’m going to be honest,  I’ve had similar feelings off and on about spending time with God in the past. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve thought, “I should read my bible,” or “I should pray” while some other part of me says, “But I don’t feel like it,” or “But I’m tired,” or “I’m too busy.”

As I started working out consistently, I started to dread it less. Probably because it hurt less. Probably because it started to be routine. And probably because I started to see some results, however small. My discipline started to grow into desire. And I think most of my past problems with spending time with God are closely related to not allowing enough time for the discipline to grow into desire. And having no idea what the fruit of time with Jesus looks like.

Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing...
I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature.
— John 15:4-5, 11 (The Message)

Jesus is saying spend time with God as I spend time with God. He got up when it was early to do so (which I and all the other night owls hate.) Jesus maintained throughout his life a total dependence on the Father. The Father was the life in his veins.

Likewise, Jesus should be the life in our veins. We have got to be joined to the vine if we’re going to function, let alone produce fruit. But what is the fruit Jesus speaks of? What are some ways we can see God growing us like we would see results from working out?

We will know his voice. Like tuning into a radio frequency, we will hear God more clearly the more we spend time with him.

He will anchor us. When we experience chaos in life, time with Jesus will be our anchor in the storm holding us steady in the crashing waves.

We will become like Jesus. The more we spend time with anyone, the more we start to pick up their mannerisms and phrases. Likewise, as we spend more time with Jesus we will become more like him.

This discipline grows into desire and blooms into delight. Eventually, not only will we have new desire to spend time with the Lord but we will begin to experience new delight in His presence. Deep abiding joy in Him.

Start with five or ten minutes each day. Read through a verse or passage of scripture, pray through the elements of the Lord’s Prayer. And keep an eye out for how even this small discipline can have a big impact in your life.