Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life emerges! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.
2 Corinthians 5:17-20 MSG
We are in the middle of the beginning of the New Year. So, how’s it going? Already flailing at life challenges and feeling overwhelmed. Maybe you started out with plans but now it’s like failing forward? Perhaps you are still taking one day at a time and moving towards a healthier new you. Does your new self-improvement plan include drawing closer to God?
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9
I really love what I do, training students to shape their bodies and hearts for God’s purposes. Exercise can be overwhelming, intimidating, but come to think of it, anything can be if we let it. Each new day is a gift from God, do we approach life with an appetite for thankfulness and gratitude? This movement in our spirit starts the momentum flowing in your body. When you ask God to help you move and exercise, He helps, it is just that simple. The hard part is trusting Him to help you.
I get it, you are not used to exercise, and that’s why we will keep it simple. How about 30 seconds per hour of exercise which will strengthen your body? Chair squats are one of my favorite at-home exercises. Simply sit on the edge of a chair while engaging your core and legs. Exhale as you start to stand up tall and inhale as you sit back down. Pretty simple. Do this for 30 seconds each hour. Set a timer and each time it goes off do some chair squats. You can do this; it is not complicated. I know you can do this but are you willing to do this? God’s Word directs us to take care of our bodies.
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Next, what is your drink of choice? Simply put, your body will crave what you give it. Is it healthy or full of sugar? Sugar feeds disease and wreaks havoc on our immune system and hormones. Water is the best choice to quench our thirst. So, how much water should you drink? Divide your body weight in half and this will give you the number of ounces you will need every day. Carry water with you wherever you go. No need to carry a gallon jug, just an amount that will get you to the next watering hole. (That’s a little western lingo for my husband.)
Let’s now address some spiritual exercises we can practice every day. We humans have a tendency of allowing one thing to ruin our day, week, year, and even entire lifetimes. This year I am being intentional with my thoughts to create a healthier spiritual state of mind. Those thoughts that the Word of God talks about.
Fix your thoughts on what is true, honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8.
For example, instead of road rage how about praying for those on the road. “Lord that person must be rushing to pickup their grand-children, please protect them as they travel.” Anyone can call them a name, or lose their temper over a driving problem, but we are set apart to be light in a dark world.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2
The world will do its best to drag you down into the gutter-talk, keep your focus and attention Upwards.
Next, are you truly grateful for the simple things in life? When my children were small, I would remind them God provided their beds, clothing, home, food, good health, etc. Songwriter John Prine said, paraphrasing, “only four inches from top of sidewalk to the gutter.” We must remember these are gifts from God and we should approach Him with an attitude of gratitude and not entitlement.
And speaking of attitudes, there will be plenty of grace growers spreading manure in your life. Sometimes we must lunge over or step around the cow chips to enjoy the field of flowers. Yes, there seems to be lots of manure you must maneuver around, but you can do it without tracking it into your life. But only with God’s help!
We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us! Philippians 4:13.
Whether we believe it about ourselves or not, the things inside you manifest themselves throughout our daily lives. Sudden bursts of anger suggest a heart in trouble. Are you holding onto hatred, bitterness, or unforgiveness? Do we carry bitterness like a weapon to be used against anyone who displeases us? Proverbs 10:12 says, “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” We can choose to not be a pot stirrer!
Don’t put off what is most important. Proverbs 27:1 tells us, Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.
Jesus died for all our sins, but we must die to self to receive His forgiveness and experience our own rebirth. Today is the perfect day to start living life from the inside out.