“What is stunting your spiritual growth? Maybe your focus in life is on material things, such as trendy clothes or a new house. Are you more concerned with peer approval than with God? Does this affect your spiritual strength training routine? Confess to the Lord the areas that are diminishing your walk with Him. Proclaim to God ways in which you want to change.” – Carla McDougal
Read Thessalonians 3
This morning I attempted to work out. The program was set at 40 minutes, but it can go nearly an hour with weights, yoga, and cardio. Usually, I am invigorated even if at first I don’t feel particularly motivated to get into it. But my focus became skewed. My attempts were half-hearted at best. I turned it off mid-way and made a pot of coffee. I needed to spend time with my Father.
I pulled on my warm socks, went onto Facebook to check for prayer requests, and then finally, discouraged, logged off. What do I study? I knew I needed to get a Reflecting Him post done for Friday and chose to spend time with God exploring Thessalonians 3. Oddly enough the title to this day’s study was called Strength Training.
“We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them. In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know.”1 Thessalonians 3:2-4
In this study, I learned to have His strength for trials, to hold my temper, to have patience, a right attitude toward God, a right attitude toward man, and ultimately thank God for the trials. The trials aren’t a punishment. For the children of God, they scrape the crud from our souls. Many trials have become odd blessings and twists of fate that lead to a better ending than my way.
To live healthier I adjust my diet, grateful that I can and have that ability when people like those in Africa or in other countries are limited, and I work out five days a week to build muscle. I also need not neglect my spiritual muscle. This morning I am drinking coffee, listening to gentle music and studying God’s Word, talking to Him. He collects my tears and turns them into joys. I have so many joys this week and affirmations and answer to prayer that I have no reason to feel sorrow. So this morning I rise and get ready for work to face another day, blindly, eagerly, reluctantly, and I know that God will do something today to keep a smile on my face whether it’s a small thing like a spot of color on the ground or a brand new book or a herd of antelope close to the fence on the way to work. He’s my strength for the day.