Friday, January 17, 2014

Faith takes a little sweat

Running the race of faith is hard and sweaty
This time of year is a transitional time for me in a lot of areas.  I not only do a January look at my health but I also note spiritual changes made and areas of growth that still need attention.  As I take a look back, I can see where God and I have journeyed together, looking at my weak spots that still need a bit of oomph.

That's hard to do.  It's taking an honest look at your naked self, inside and out.

Man...last year was a season of ups and downs for me.

How about you?

As I reflect on the goodness of God, I so want to align my heart with His.  And that means I have to lay it all out before Him, as I let Him direct my re-centering.

I get face down to seek His face.  My prayer posture brings some new disciplines as well as cut out some old ones.

I must be honest with old habits die hard.

Change for God's best is always good, even though it's hard.  But remember, nothing is too hard for our God and He is bigger than any change He is asking of you.  Absolute faith in a God you know has your best interest at heart.

I don't know how you make changes, but if I might encourage you, please ask God first about what you should be changing, and let Him set your priorities, rather than you presenting Him your goals list.

Making changes is hard work.

In my experience, and out of my fear and respect for our Lord, it behooves me to seek Him in all things first instead of heading into my goals like a bull in a china closet.  (if you don't know what that means, please go ask your mom.)

First and foremost, acknowledge Him as your God.  Praise Him for the work He's done so far.  Thank Him for the saving work of His Son, Jesus.  Today when I checked in, He's still in control of you and that part hasn't changed.  Nor is He wanting to hand over the controls to you, He's doing awesome without our help.

Inviting God to be a part of your everyday storms can be hard, we don't like to admit we need help.  Depending on God's strength instead of your own is key.  Admitting that we need help is a threatening situation to our self-confidence.  Admitting that openly to someone else makes you feel weak and exposed.  Don't delay, let God search your heart deep on this one.

Admitting that we need God's help is hard.  Admitting we need help to others is harder.

There are many days I have felt alone since I have stepped away from the microphone. And for a wired-for-relationships person, I need to know that I have friends to reach out to.  I need your community.  Instead of getting depressed about my loss of friendships, I praise God for the intentional friends that He has placed in my conversations and I'm doing my best in honoring those.

Being intentional is hard and takes time.

When God nudges you out of the comfortable nest you have made for yourself, He will put you in a place where you have to depend on Him for all things.  He doesn't concern Himself with how comfortable you are, He only looks in your heart to see how obedient you are.  We have to listen closely to hear His directives.  Listening for God's voice means we talk less and it's hard to keep quiet isn't it?  

Hearing truth is hard, hearing the whispers of God takes a real stillness in our souls.

Letting God be your security is hard work when we are easily distracted with the comforts of this world.  Do you need me to make a comfort list for you too?  If this confuses you, ask God what you run to for comfort and security instead of God being your Comforter and your Refuge.  Believe me, He's waiting for you to ask Him these hard questions.

God uses others to cheer-lead you along the way.  And in those conversations God will stretch you uncomfortable and sting your heart a little!  But it's accountability to keep you on task with good godly changes.  It's hard to be authentic and real before others who will judge you.  

Finding trustworthy friends is hard work.  Finding faith mentors is even harder.

Exercising faith is never easy, and asks us to do hard things.  Exercising is never easy for me, I have the time to carve out 15 minutes a day, just like you, but I can still find plenty of excuses as to why I don't exercise, instead of moving this body plus I don't like to sweat.  It's about choosing to change exercise habits, these don't come naturally.

Working out is hard.  Sweating is gross and the discipline to stick with it is harder.

I memorized eight pages of dialog while renovating a baby nursery, painting walls, getting caught up in a sewing fever of the new baby preparations all the while taking lessons from a 3-year-old.  Learning from someone younger...especially your children's children is very hard.  Learning 8 pages of lines is hard.  

Learning new disciplines is even harder.

Forgiving someone who has wounded your heart is hard.  Forgiveness in general is hard work but Christ's forgiveness is easy.  

In these times, faith requires us to do hard things.  God never said it was going to be easy.  He only asked for our trust.  Faith and trust go hand in hand and speaking of what is in our hands...

Obedience takes hard action.

Living the free, forgiven life of a child of God is hard work.  I choose to wear the opinion of my immovable faith in God.  This takes action, hard action not based on evidence or feelings but on a God I know.  We don't need evidence of faith, we need to live in and by the faith we already know.

And ..there's hope for our hardened hearts, don't give up the first time you have to sweat.  

God helps us with the hard parts.

Romans 12: 1- 2:  "So here's what I want you to do, God helping you:  Take your everyday, ordinary life--your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life--and place it before God as an offering.  Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.  Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You'll be changed from the inside out.  Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.  Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to is level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."  (MSG)

Lean into the hard parts of life, you'll be changed from the inside out, and God will change you to be a faith die hard.  

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