A new beginning: Being more like Jesus
It doesn’t take a person long to determine what time of year it is by simply viewing the plethora of commercials regarding fitness and weight loss that are bombarding our senses. With the New Year comes a renewed focus upon change.
Obviously, many of us could stand to get a bit more exercise, or eat less fatty food. It is good that we focus some of our newfound enthusiasm on taking care of the bodies that God has given to us.
However, I wonder if we are as concerned about the health of our souls as we are the package that encases that eternal treasure? What if we were as concerned about our spiritual health as we were our physical well-being?
Many of us fail at the resolutions that we make to live healthier each year for a variety of reasons. I don’t believe that it’s because we don’t want to become healthier. Rather, I believe it’s because we set vague goals, and fail to develop a plan of action that can help us attain that which we desire.
If a person wants to lose some unwanted pounds, then he or she must take certain steps to accomplish their mission. Obviously, one needs to get some exercise. Unfortunately, too many of us try to go out and get rid of that weight on the first day of our exercise program.
Then after some sore muscles, and pains from regions of our bodies that we had forgotten existed, we grow frustrated and decide that maybe this “being healthy” thing is really not that important after all.
However, there are some simple things that we can do to help us attain our goal. For example, we can take the stairs rather than the elevator, or go for a walk on our lunch break.
Pushing ourselves away from the table when we are full is probably the most important activity that any of us can do to become healthier.
Before you start thinking that this article is all about physical health, keep reading so that you don’t miss the point.
Can I share with you a challenge that our Lord has put before me for the days ahead?
I would like to become more like Jesus this year.
A goal like this is not accomplished simply by reading more of the Bible, or finding more time to devote to my church. Rather, it is achieved by taking the daily little steps that are necessary to help me conform to the image of my Savior.
Much like fitness goals are achieved as a result of one making small but significant changes in one’s life, spiritual goals are accomplished in much the same way.
Here are a few thoughts regarding how we can take some “baby steps” towards becoming more like Jesus.
If you would like to start reading the Bible this year, try reading ten verses or a chapter a day, rather than attempting to read five or six chapters in fifteen minutes.
Ask the Holy Spirit for clarity as you read the Word. Perhaps, it would be good to begin a journal where you simply record what God has said to you in your daily Scripture reading with a sentence or two.
Most of us would like to improve our prayer lives. We realize that we need to spend more time with the Father than just a few leftover moments at the end of the day, or a rushed few seconds in the morning on the way to work.
What if we made a conscious effort to pray at least one minute more each day than we have in the past? Imagine if we devoted that extra time in the act of praise and worship of our Lord.
Some of us believe that we need to focus our lives in the service of others. While it would be great if you could work 20 hours a week at a local charity, try giving a more manageable amount of time to those in need. Can you imagine the difference that could be made in the life of a child if one of us spent an hour a week just providing a listening ear?
Would an hour each week at a local food pantry or clothes closet make a difference in the Kingdom?
Hopefully, you have heard the essence of what I am trying to say. While it’s good to have big goals when it comes to life change, it is those smaller and more focused actions that will truly make a difference.
Will you join me in asking the Father to make both of us at least a little more like Jesus today? Can you imagine what we will look like in a year if we do so? (Mike Cooper is Missouri Baptist Convention’s director of Sunday School / Discipleship.)