Don’t you just love a new year? There is something about a fresh start (whether it be a new day, week, month or year) that our souls long for. God designed us that way, that’s why His mercy and compassion is offered anew to us each morning. (Lam. 3:22-23)
As we begin a new year, it is natural for us to take stock of our life and think about making some changes. For example, a couple of days into the New Year, my daughter texted me a picture of a Food Challenge – a list of foods to avoid for 21 days, along with the picture, she said, “We should do this”. I must have had a moment of insanity as I agreed to do it with her. Thankfully, I was able to convince my husband (who also had a moment of insanity) to join us as well. I figure you can do just about anything for 21 days, right? The hardest part for me will be not eating chocolate for three weeks!
This list is now on the door of our fridge.
We are almost done with the challenge and, surprisingly, it hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it would be. Because it is January, I know many of us are thinking about our physical health and fitness. For example, one of my friends is challenging herself to run 1000 miles this year (talk about insanity! *smile*). Another friend is removing sugar from her diet. Still another friend is challenging herself to drink a gallon of water a day. These are all good things!
Yet, as I was thinking about the many physical challenges I have heard about, it got me to be thinking about spiritual challenges. What are we doing to grow and challenge ourselves spiritually this New Year?
1st Timothy 4:7-8 from The Living Bible says, “Spend your time and energy in the exercise of keeping spiritually fit. Bodily exercise is all right but spiritual exercise is much more important. . .because that will help you not only now in this life, but in the next life too.”
Yes, God wants us to take good care of our bodies because they are the temple of His Holy Spirit. However, as believers, we are out of balance, when we focus much of our time and energy on our bodies and neglect our souls/spirits.
It takes discipline to not eat certain foods, or run, or drink adequate water each day. It is important to ask yourself, “Am I willing to be as disciplined in my spiritual life as I am in my physical life? “
One of the wonderful things about being a Christian is that no matter how “mature” you become in Christ, there are always new ways to continue to grow in Him. Whether you consider yourself a baby Christian, a mature Christian or anywhere in between, until the day you go home to be with Jesus, there is always something you can learn and grow in.
Are you up for a challenge this year? Do you sense the Holy Spirit kindling a small desire in your heart to challenge yourself to grow spiritually in 2015? Are you willing to commit to something and become disciplined in order to cooperate with the work Jesus wants to do in your life?
If so, stay tuned to the blog as I share some practical ideas of ways to challenge yourself spiritually in 2015!
Your Friend in Ministry,