With the turning of a new year, it prompts us to pause a moment and take a look back and examine our lives a bit. What has happened, what have we done, where have we succeeded and where have we failed? What changes do you want to make in your life? If there are things that you prompted to improve, chances are, this is not something new to you. We all have things that we struggle with, that we are usually well aware of, on an ongoing basis. So, whether you actually resolve to make changes in certain areas, or even create a goal for what you want to accomplish, without an action plan, chances are you will see limited success. Being accountable to someone, other than yourself, for what you want to accomplish may be the best indicator for success. We can all say we want to be healthier, but in what area of life are you most convicted to make changes?
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. Hebrews 11:1-2
The most common area people want to change is with something physical. This may include restrictions and improvements on what we eat or drink and how that impacts our weight and health. We should also ask, why am I compelled to eat better or improve my health? Maybe it is so you can be able to better engage with your family or be able to serve others for more years. Maybe you want to be able to maintain what abilities you currently have. I have not been able to run as often as I would like to do over the past 6 months, so I either need to adjust my schedule to better accommodate this, or change my priorities. I always say the best exercise is going for a long walk with someone else, as it has a positive impact on multiple areas of our health. Where do you want to improve your physical health?
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Another area we may want to grow, is our spiritual live. This may resemble our relational/social well-being as well. How we relate to others is often similar to how well we converse and interact with God. Is it as natural as breathing, or does it feel like a struggle each time you try to pray or spend time in the Word? With any discipline, the more we do it, often the more natural it becomes. Also, the more fruit you see from the time invested, the more motivated we are to continue on with each discipline. Just as the first time you were convicted of sin and trusted in Christ for your salvation, He is willing to renew your spirit each time you turn back to him. Even if you feel you have so much to do that making time for God is not a good option, commit to pray and talk even for a short time, but more frequently, and watch how that can still make a difference in your day. I’ve been doing this for years and can still be surprised how even a small investment to God can make a big impact in my life.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:23-24
What areas of your social and emotional side of life do you feel convicted about? Especially for men, we don’t feel there is much wrong with how we relate to others, unless it makes others want to avoid us. One thing that seems to help, is to spend more time and time listening to others. It doesn’t have to be everyone, but maybe even just one person, e.g. your spouse, and see what a difference that can make. Simply ask a question, and commit not to interrupt for at least 3 minutes. Time spent actively listening to someone shows that you value them and what they say. Try it first with those you love, and then with those you don’t like to see if it can make you care for them more.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58
This is not meant to be a comprehensive list of everything we need to do to become a perfect Christian, but just a personal reflection of things we can do to bring awareness of small things we can do to create changes in our lives that can make a big difference. If you ask, most of us would like to be more effective and efficient with how we spend our time on things we both have to do and want to do. If where I spend my time, money, and energy helps me improve my life and further God’s Kingdom, then I want to move in that direction. May you continue to spur others on to good works, and potentially be all that you can be, regardless of which army you are in!
Yours in Christ,