Scripture and tips to help you change your life.
Posted in , Feb 28, 2017
Training is hard. Every athlete will tell you it takes dedication and focused energy to build muscle and improve skills. The same is true on the spiritual side.
Paul says, “Train yourself to be godly” (1 Timothy 4:7). When we ask God to help us overcome a bad tendency–whether it’s worry, gossip, pessimism, a temper, self-indulgence, a sharp tongue or pride–we still have a workout ahead of us.
Stamina doesn’t appear like magic; it’s developed one day, one temptation, one choice at a time. God will give us the strength we need, but it’s only by using that strength day after day that we develop the ability to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1).
One of the first steps in breaking a bad habit or purging your life of recurring sin is to pray for “a discerning heart” (1 Kings 3:9) so that we can see what distracts us from what God asks us to do. What tempts us away from the path we want to be on? Into which kinds of situations do we stray?
What discourages us? Makes us want to give up? The more we understand the things that pull us off track and onto “the road that leads to destruction” the easier it will be to stay focused on the narrow “road that leads to life” (Matthew 7:13).
Once we know where the pitfalls lie, we can pray throughout the day, as many times as needed, Give me, Lord, the wisdom to make the good choice right now. Holding Scripture verses in your mind and returning to them throughout the day can help, too. Three of my favorites are:
Often when we seek to make a change in our lives, we work on it for a while, then gradually forget. Jesus’ words to the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane are apt: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). Before–and during–any effort to change, we need to continually ask God for the strength to stay awake and persevere in what we are doing. We need to dedicate our hard work to Him and unite our struggles to His. We need to cling to the promise in Philippians 4:13: “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”