Start the new year by practicing your follow-through

The new year is here, and with it is often comes a resolution to get into shape.
I have been to a store that sells used exercise equipment. It is called Second Wind Exercise Equipment. I have observed that following Christmas, many stores have sales on exercise equipment.
They offer discounts and incentives for purchasing the most modern and up-to-date equipment.
A few months later, folks begin selling their latest and greatest exercise equipment simply because they don’t use it.
Interesting how we begin with good intentions, yet our follow-through seems to leave a little to be desired.
During Christmas break, youngest son Josh was encouraging me to get a healthier lifestyle. He commented on my weight, calorie intake and lack of exercise.
He is correct on each of his observations. I choose to live an unhealthy lifestyle. I eat too much of the wrong things, I don’t keep my weight down and exercise hasn’t made the priority list for many years. With that being said, it could be time to reorganize my priorities in my life.
While I don’t see the need to go extreme lengths as my weight-lifting youngest son did, I do see the need to get a little more fit. The Apostle Paul writes a bit about training and competition in I Corinthians 9. He tells us in a race all runners compete. They work hard to win. Paul doesn’t train aimlessly to lose, but trains to win. The question becomes, how is my follow-through?   
How is your follow-through? In our walk with Christ, our follow-through is the most important.
We can begin a relationship with Christ and don’t develop it – we have no follow-through.
We miss the time of God with us. We miss the daily walk with Christ. We miss God with us on a daily basis.
The follow-through brings life to our relationship with Christ. Developing our walk with Christ comes primarily through personal prayer and Bible Study.  
Years ago, I led a church promotion entitled “Read the Bible Through.”
Reading three chapters a day in the Bible allows a person to read through the entire Bible.
Two chapters in the Old Testament and one chapter in the New Testament allow an individual to read the Bible in a year.
My aging mother decided to attempt this. She faithfully read her Bible each morning after breakfast and completed the Bible in a year.
It was a great start for becoming more familiar with the Bible.
She got a little bogged down in Leviticus and Numbers, but stayed with it. She had follow-through. She continued to read the bible through for several more years.
Prayer is another discipline of the Christian life. Through prayer, we share our life with God.
I find praying gives me a constant contact with God. In fact, constant praying is so readily available we often forget to do it.
I have traveled in a few Muslim countries that several times a day the prayer call goes off, everything stops and there is a pause while Muslims pray.
I watched as construction workers rolled out their prayer mats on the roof of a multi-story building they were building. They bowed toward Mecca and prayed. While I think the Muslim is misguided in many of his beliefs, his commitment to prayer is commendable. I must develop a prayer habit as a Christian that strengthens my relationship with Christ.
James 5:16b – “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” The type of prayer James speaks of is effective. The verses surrounding James 5:16 give direction for effective prayer life. Confession, praise, thanksgiving and requests are all part of an effective prayer life.
Prayer is, most simply put, practicing the presence of God, sensing God each moment of the day and relying upon him. A transformed life that has a growing relationship with Christ demands both Bible study and an active prayer life.
The first step of developing a dynamic relationship with Christ is to resolve to do it. Determine in your heart you want a daily walk with Christ. Paul writes in I Corinthians 9:26 – “I don’t run without a goal. And I don’t box by beating my fists in the air.” 27 – “I keep my body under control and make it my slave, so I won’t lose out after telling the good news to others.”
Paul challenges us to train hard, keep focused and don’t just play at a relationship with Christ. Discipline yourself so that you can be a “slave” to God. When I am a slave to God, I am excelling in my relationship with Him. I am ready, willing and able to tell the good news of Christ to people.
Start the new year off by being transformed by Christ. It will revolutionize your life. Practice your follow-through.
 

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