Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: When we think of God as our personal trainer

When God Is Your Personal Trainer
A devotional by Sarah Cole

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.”–2 Peter 1:3-7 (NIV)

Change is possible, even for creatures of habit.

I am reminded of this every time I go to the gym–after buying memberships only to lose interest over the years, my mindset changed when I realized I was not only overweight, my knees were in terrible shape. When my orthopedic surgeon recommended knee replacement last year, he said patients with stronger legs have the best outcome. And now, after a year of hard work, prayer, and my trainer's support, I don't need surgery after all.

For most of us, a new year means it's time for a makeover. The possibilities are endless, and if we're not careful, we can try to make so many changes that we throw in the towel too soon.

What if making one change is the only one necessary?

I like to think of God as a personal trainer. While He cares about every need, spiritual fitness is His priority because our character, not our waistline, will help us make a difference in the world.

Asking God to help us build spiritual muscle seems counterintuitive, but only He knows what's up ahead this year and the inner qualities we need to cope with it. If we try to change everything ourselves, it's easy to burn out when life doesn't turn out as we hoped.

Making one change is hard enough; let's keep it simple this time.

As you think about this year, consider implementing one of the following options. The growth you see in yourself over the next several months simply by making one change may surprise you!

Here’s a short list of options: 
  1. Set one goal. Is there one goal you could reach that would make all the difference in how you approach life? Set yourself up for success by making it specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Chart your progress each week and reward yourself along the way.
  2. Choose one word. What do you need more of this year? Some examples are simplicity, trust, faith, acceptance, and hope. Let it guide you each day. Keep a journal and see how you grow in that area by the end of the year.
  3. Meditate on a Bible verse. Ask God to reveal a verse that best fits an area you need to improve, such as impatience or offense. Memorize it and apply it to situations as they come up.
Friend, whatever your choice, I'm confident this will be one of your best years yet, because if I've learned anything from working out at the gym, everything works out in the end.

Let's Pray:
Dear Father, thank You for building in me the character that makes me who I am today. Change is hard, but I look forward to seeing what You will do in my life this year. Give me the power to drop excess burdens and build my character so I can fulfill the calling You've designed for me. In Jesus's Name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

Sarah Cole’s interest in writing began in grade school when her poem was published in the local paper. As she got older, her mother’s chronic illness inspired her to design a line of greeting cards. Since then, she has written for her college newspaper and two community newspapers where she wrote restaurant reviews and articles for their “Best of” spread.

Her experience as an administrator in the marketing field gave her the opportunity to write ads for a local business journal.

After a 20-year detour and a three-year season of adversity, God reignited her passion to write. Two divine appointments later, the short story she wrote about her father appeared in the St. Paul Almanac, and a short story about Gigi (her Cocker Spaniel) was published in Guideposts (magazine) Mysterious Ways. She believes her adversity was worth the lessons God taught her.

Since 2022, Sarah’s devotionals have been published in The Secret Place by Judson Press, as well as David C. Cook’s Devotions and The Quiet Hour. To this day, she smiles, pinches herself and gives God all the glory.

When she’s not writing, Sarah enjoys watching cooking shows, designing cards and mugs, and taking day trips.

Connect with Sarah:

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