Earlier this week we unpacked the idea that the Christian life is like making a New Years resolution every day.
In the first installment of this post we concluded that one of the first disciplines every Christian should have is “Examining our Limitations.” We have to look deep within ourselves asking God to reveal those areas of our lives that need to be changed. It’s the same examination we give ourselves leading up to New Years. We find our shortcomings, make goals to change them, and then act. So then what?
Exercise Your Faith
Exercise always sounds good on paper, but the execution is the part I hate. It’s funny to think that the gym, I was going to, has all the tools needed to bring me to peak physical condition––running machines and elliptical for cardio, weights for building muscle, and classes to train me and introduce me to new techniques. Everything is at the gym for me to get in shape.
The same is true in our spiritual life. God has given us every tool by the Spirit we need to grow into mature, strong Christians. Nevertheless, we have to use the tools He gives to us, this is again where discipline comes into play.
He’s given us His Word as a tool to guide and lead us when we feel lost “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). It’s a true exercise to stay in His Word, especially when we get too busy or maybe life’s not going exactly the way we planned it. Either way, God’s Word is a gift He’s given to us to as a light for guidance and direction in a very dark world.
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Finally, God has provided a community for us, the church, so we are not alone in our journey with the Lord. He’s given us this community for encouragement, exhortation, and confession. A group of spiritually-minded people who are there to help us keep pace in a world that is constantly dragging us down (Ephesians 4:15–16).
Discipline to use the tools God has so graciously bestowed on us requires work, and in this age of instant results, it’s hard to gauge our spiritual progress. But remember, God is faithful, so expect great things that will come of it.
Expecting Great Things to Come
You know everyone who starts a New Year’s resolution has a goal in mind to what they want to accomplish. I wanted to lose 10 pounds, that was my goal (I’m not there yet).
Did you know God has a goal in mind for all of us! He’s given us all these tools so that we might use them to be transformed into something completely new. God’s goal for each and every believer in Jesus the Messiah is the same, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). He wants us to look, sound, and be just like Jesus.
This change doesn’t happen instantaneously; it doesn’t happen overnight when we’re sleeping; it doesn’t happen passively by watching other people change. It happens over the entire lifetime of a believer, and we know change is happening when we feel it, because sometimes it really hurts and there can be some serious pain involved.
The beauty of the Christian life is that everyday we live is an opportunity to change and conform into the image of Jesus. When we fail, when we fall, when we want to give up, His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22–23), giving us the chance to get up and try again!