Winter is not my favorite season by a long way. I hate being cold. But winter scenery is another matter. I do love the beauty of billowy clouds, snow on the evergreen, even the bare tree branches against an azure sky. I love the first sign of twinkle lights in windows and the first sound of Christmas carols on the radio.
What I don’t like is coming to work in the dark and leaving work in the dark. I vote against bitter wind, sleet and below zero temperatures. I’d like to ban storms or at least limit their visits to when I’m already cuddled in front of the pellet stove with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book.
Alas, every season, every activity, every hobby contains the good parts and the bad parts. I’m a writer. It’s what I love to do. I love the light bulb burst of a new idea and I love the furious flow of words from my brain to the paper or computer screen. I don’t love writer’s block, editing for the tenth time or getting to the middle of a great manuscript and finding myself at a loss of where to go next. If only writing were fun and productive all the time. Or for that matter, parenting, cooking, working, teaching, reading and so on and so on.
Jesus certainly faced the same challenges in His life on earth. I would guess He loved the opportunity to heal but didn’t care for the moments when healing didn’t happen because of someone’s lack of faith. I’ll bet he loved spending time with his closest friends and followers, but hated the moments when it seemed they hadn’t learned a thing from Him; when they questioned who He really was and failed to accept the power in His very name.
Today I spoke with a friend who is really under attack right now and it’s no surprise. She has had a renewal of faith and is on fire with hope, enthusiasm and joy. I don’t imagine satan likes that much. So, he’s out to shake her up. She’s finding herself in the not so likeable part of the Christian walk. It’s a reminder that there’s work to do to stay focused and motivated through the ups and downs of life. Here’s the workout program. Repeat as often as necessary until you feel those spiritual muscles bulging.
1) From a kneeling position, inhale deeply, exhale and pray. Pray early, pray late, pray always. Pray when it’s going well and when it’s not. This will build strength within.
2) From a sitting position, lift your Bible as often as possible and read. This will strengthen your mind and your resolve.
3) Spread your arms wide and reach out to others. This will strengthen your commitment and build your confidence.
4) Ask others to join your fitness club. Ask them to pray with you, talk with you, share with you, commiserate with you and praise God with you. This will build up your joy and inner peace.
And remember this – if you weren’t on the right path, satan wouldn’t pay you a bit of attention. He doesn’t care what you’re doing as long as you aren’t doing what God wants you to do. He doesn’t have a plan for your life. He just wants to make sure you aren’t following God’s plan for your life. A good exercise program like the one above will keep him from achieving his goal.
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord Himself is the Rock eternal. Isaiah 26:3-4