We all want to know how someone does it. How did she lose the weight or tone her body? We want to know, because we want to duplicate the results. We’ll order the product or sign up for the program with high hopes of losing weight and having the best body we’ve ever had.
The problem is different plans work for different people. There’s no easy, no-fail, one-size-fits-all fitness plan. The one that works best for a person is the one she decides to use when she becomes determined to make sacrifices, meet challenges, and be disciplined. Someone else can try to duplicate the results but without the firm decision and determination, the approach will turn into one more failure. Timing and intentionality matter.
Attitude has a significant impact on your development. Attitude can catapult or hinder your growth. Attitude precedes behavior. Attitude pushes through and shows itself as behavior. Look at patterns of behavior, and you’ll have a strong clue into the attitude behind it. The behavior can be related to physical fitness or spiritual fitness.
What is your attitude toward faith?
Where is your relationship with God in your list of priorities?
What percentage of time each day is spent in intentional effort of growing toward God?
Everything you do will move you toward or away from God. God doesn’t move, but what you do, say, and think causes slight – and sometimes significant – shifts in where you are. It’s as if you are driving your car up a steep hill. Without doing anything, you will roll down the hill. You can stabilize yourself by pushing the brake. The only way you’ll get up the hill is through the effort of pushing your foot against the gas. In reality, God does most the work, just as the car’s mechanics make the car more with the little effort of your foot pushing a small pedal. God’s grace slows the downward movement of the car to minimize danger and catastrophe. However, movement still takes effort.
You were taught to leave your old self—to stop living the evil way you lived before. That old self becomes worse, because people are fooled by the evil things they want to do. But you were taught to be made new in your hearts, to become a new person. That new person is made to be like God—made to be truly good and holy. (Ephesians 4:22-24)
Our attitudes change because we ask God to help us change our attitudes. We have self-control because we ask God to equip us. We persevere because we ask God to continue to encourage and strengthen us. God has what we need, but we must access him in order to receive it. He’s waiting. He wants to bless us. He wants to give.
We don’t always like everything he gives us. We don’t always see everything as a blessing. We have difficulty yielding our attitudes because we want what’s fair and just by our own standards. We want to rationalize what makes the most sense to us. We want to excuse what doesn’t. We can only hold so much in our hands and hearts, and we often think we’re better able to determine what we should and can hold instead of relying on the only one who truly knows.
We will grow when we determine to make sacrifices. We will grow when we yield to God. We will grow when we embrace challenges and invite discipline. Each person’s spiritual growth will look slightly different, because God created each of us as unique and knows how to meet us where we are and take us the next steps. But God does not change. His provision and guidance might look different in the context of various people, but he is providing and guiding each one, and the end result is the same when we are obedient in our relationship with him. We become maturing followers of Christ. We are one step closer to our goals of becoming like him. We are giving ourselves to him so he can invade our lives to fill every space as we yield to him.