Thursday Night Football’s matchup between the 4-1 Eagles and the 4-1 Panthers is a big one, as they are two of the top teams in the league right now.

Having family in both Philly and Charlotte will make the game extra fun to watch…and I’ll be rooting especially hard for the Panthers to win so my uncles have to send me Tastykakes!

One of the key Eagles players to watch tonight is their tight end, Zach Ertz. A second round pick out of Stanford, Ertz is in his 5th season and emerging as one of the best tight ends in the game. (He’s been great for my Fantasy team!)

Although consistently playing at an elite level didn’t happened overnight, Ertz is finally living up to the expectations of his team and fans. In a recent interview, he talked about the influence Tony Gonzalez had on him years ago when he introduced him to the concept of having a “routine to greatness.”

After Gonzalez shared his “routine to greatness,” Ertz implemented his own version over the years, which has contributed to his development as an all-around tight end who can catch touchdowns and run-block.

In an article on philly.comhis routine is described like this: “Ertz stretches nightly. He does yoga every Friday. He bathes with Epsom salt three times a week. He runs on an underwater treadmill three times each week, too. And he continues to search for what to add and improve.”

The article further explains the development of Ertz’s mind, body, and spirit (his faith). His committed routine, and openness to change, has clearly helped him mature on and off the field throughout his five-year career.

I love the idea of implementing a “routine to greatness” into our own lives. As followers of Jesus, we can accomplish goals and become the person God calls us to be if we consistently put the time and effort into the right routines.

Our “routine to greatness” isn’t about going through the motions or trying to earn salvation. Instead, it’s a daily choice to regularly invest our lives in knowing God deeply, and serving Him passionately, because of our love for Him and His love for us.

We don’t want to ever settle or stop learning, as reminded in Hebrews 6:1 (NLT): “So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding…”

Each of us will have our own unique “routine to greatness,” but our passion and vision for a thriving routine is the same…to know and follow Jesus.

A routine of studying the Bible, praying, serving, worshiping, and fellowshipping must not be done out of obligation, but rather integrated into our lives for growth and maturity of our character and faith.

After years of commitment, we can then look back at who we once were and recognize the fruit in our lives, along with the profound connection to Jesus.

2 Peter 1:8-11 (NLT) says, “The more you grow like this (verses 3-7), the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.

“So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I pray for self-discipline and commitment to the routines that help me grow and mature. I pray I wouldn’t get caught up in doing routines just to do them, but instead with a heart and passion to know You deeply. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.