Keeping Your Resolutions

2 Thessalonians 3:13: “Dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good” (NLT).

It’s hard to believe, but we’re already almost a full week into 2022! How have your resolutions been going so far?

I’ve been putting forth all my effort into recognizing God’s presence in even the simplest and most ordinary of everyday tasks. It’s been a beautiful and edifying practice that I’m grateful for.

The resolutions you have made are good things. You made them because you want to improve your life, and that’s admirable! There’s always room for us to grow, and we should never settle for staying stagnant in life.

The truth of the matter is that God has created you with unlimited potential. There is a purpose deeply rooted within your identity that God has placed there. To fulfill that divine purpose, you must be at your best in every way possible. Our New Year resolutions can help us to get there!

How? Let’s look for example at one of the most common New Year’s resolutions: to get in better physical shape! At first glance, this may not seem like it’s anything that has to do with our purpose or identity in Christ. But when we dig deeper, we find out that couldn’t be further from the truth!

The truth of the matter is that God has created you with unlimited potential. There is a purpose deeply rooted within your identity that God has placed there.

1 Corinthians 6:19 says. “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?” To truly comprehend this verse and its deeper meaning, we must look back at the design of Solomon’s temple in ancient Jerusalem.

The temple was a marvel of architecture and beauty. The temple was built with such staggering attention to perfection as a testament to the Israelites devotion to God. Solomon’s temple was built to reflect the glory of God Himself, for in that temple is where they believed God’s Spirit to reside.

The temple was made up of many courts. As you proceeded further into the temple and through the courts, you entered more holy ground. The innermost sanctum was the holiest of all, known as the Holy of Holies. This room was deemed so holy that only the High Priest could enter it, and only on one day of the entire year.

Why was that? Because that’s the sanctum where they believed God’s Spirit dwelled.

When Jesus died on the cross, the Bible tells us that the veil in the temple was torn in two. This symbolizes the truth that the Holy Spirit now resided within every believer instead of the Holy of Holies.

That’s right: If you are a believer, God’s Spirit is within YOU!

That makes your body sacred space, something to be cherished, respected, and taken care of. Just as you wouldn’t defile a church, don’t defile your body either.

See how the New Year’s resolution of committing to better physical health can carry with it deeply spiritual significance? This is just one example of how our resolutions can be so important to keep!

That’s right: If you are a believer, God’s Spirit is within YOU!

But did you know that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail? With those staggering kinds of statistics against us, where are we to find the encouragement, strength, and wisdom we need to see our resolutions through?

The Bible

The Bible is our source of all wisdom, knowledge, and strength. When we need the extra insight or motivation to crush our goals for the New Year, we can find it in God’s Word! Through the Bible, God shows us the deeper meaning behind everything that we experience in life. This helps to instill purpose and identity in us. That purpose and identity will lead us to naturally experience the motivation to better ourselves in every way so that we can be more like Jesus!

Your Relationship with Christ

Our faith centers around our personal and intimate relationship with Jesus. Jesus loves us as we are, but He also leads us on a journey of discovering and unleashing the fullness of the potential that God has placed within us. Jesus wants nothing more than to see us accomplish God’s purpose for our lives, and it’s through our relationship with Him that it happens!

Fellowship

God didn’t create us to go through life alone. Being a relational being Himself, God created us in His image to thrive off of relationships with each other. Our brothers and sisters in Christ can provide unmatched support when we need it most. Having a fellow believer to hold you accountable for your New Year’s resolutions can make or break you sticking with it!

Don’t give up on your resolutions. God has placed them upon your heart for a reason. Remember your powerful identity as a child of God, and never stop growing!

Continue reading “Keeping Your Resolutions”

Faith and Fitness

1 Corinthians 6:19

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? (NIV)

Before I was a Christian, and even to a different degree today, I struggled with my self-identity. There was always this enormous gulf between how I evaluated myself at the moment and what I knew I could become. Living in this disconnect left me constantly feeling frustrated and confused.

What they say is true: perception is reality. The perception that I had of myself was flawed. I still struggle with it. We never ultimately arrive at our destination, but I always feel like I should be one step ahead of where I find myself at the moment. That disconnect enters my life again, bringing back those feelings of frustration and confusion.

I have always found that pursuing a greater fitness level has helped me deal with this. Being more in touch with my physical self allows me to bridge the gap between my perception of myself and what I truly am. The change I feel happens for many reasons.

Since my mid-twenties, I have struggled considerably with my weight. I go back and forth between being a relatively healthy weight and being far too overweight for my overall health. When I find myself carrying more weight than I should be, it’s challenging to do the everyday things that I need to do. I don’t feel like myself at all. More often than not, the past few years, this was my reality, and I’ve struggled considerably with it.

I found my most significant victory at the beginning of this year. Between January and May, I lost nearly 50 pounds. During that time, I celebrated my 32nd birthday, but I was feeling more like 22. I felt a rush of self-confidence that stemmed from my ability to thrive in my everyday tasks and feel good doing it. It helped me to focus on a healthier perception of myself.

Since then, I have struggled to maintain the success I had found. In my efforts, I have uncovered new inspiration to continue by seeking the answer to a simple question: what is the relationship between fitness and faith?

Through prayer, God reminded me of a beautiful illustration that helped lead me to an answer. The Jewish temple that once stood in Jerusalem held powerful symbolism in its very architecture. You see, the temple consisted of multiple courts. As you progressed further into the temple, you entered more holy ground. The most sacred space of all was the innermost room, called the Holy of Holies. They found it so hallowed that only one person (the High Priest) could enter the room only one day out of the year. That is because the Holy of Holies was the part of the temple where they believed God’s spirit resided.

In 1 Corinthians 6:9, Paul reminds us of a beautiful truth: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” (NIV). Does this verse draw striking similarities in your mind regarding what we learned about the Holy of Holies?

Our bodies that God has blessed us with are vessels of the Holy Spirit. Since the time of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon all believers, God’s Spirit resides not in the Holy of Holies but rather within each person that has professed faith in Christ’s name! Through it, He empowers us to fulfill the calling He has placed in our life to do.

Would you neglect or abuse sacred space in the form of your local church’s sanctuary? Why then would we not care for our bodies, which God has deemed worthy of holding the Holy Spirit? The journey that led me to ask myself this question has reinvigorated my passion for pursuing the best fitness I can attain.

When I start to fall away from my goals, I will ask myself those questions anew. I encourage you to do the same. I know I could use an accountability partner if anyone is willing. I am also available if I can do the same for anyone else that reads this. Please message me at Zachary@JacobsLadderCCW.com, and we can help spur each other on to conquer our goals. In the coming weeks, I will reflect on this journey and how it relates to my faith.

Praise be to God, who freely gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit!