Putting Some Effort Into It!

There are some young women in our church that are really looking nice. They are getting up every morning at some crazy hour and doing intense workouts. They are focused on getting healthy and looking good. They are keeping up with the regiment and staying focused. I look at them and wish I had their stamina and ability to stay focused. I admire them.
So what’s to keep me from following in their footsteps? Well, for one thing, I am much older than these young ladies. Number two, I want to have their bodies, but I am not willing to work as hard as these young ladies. The desire is there, but not the motivation.Two of my daughters are the same way. They work hard on exercising and staying fit. They try to convince me I can do it, but, once again the desire is there, the motivation is not.
So what does all of this have to do with faith? Let me share with you what God shared with me when I pouted because I didn’t have the body I did ten years ago.
I see others in the church whose faith is much stronger and holds up better than mine any day. I see men and women who are focused on doing what God has called them to do and are focused on being disciples of Christ. I wonder what I am doing wrong. I have the desire, but often times the motivation is not there.
We cannot desire something, wish it so and then it happens. If we have the desire to do something or have something then we need to put in some effort to accomplish it. I can have the desire to be Christ’s disciple, but if I am not willing to follow what God teaches me or not willing to put into practice those things that He tells me, then my discipleship will never be anything more than a desire.
When I look at those folks who have a strong faith, what I see, is their dedication to being a discipleship of Christ. I see that they are in Bible Studies, have a regular devotion and prayer time, go on retreats, and have an active relationship with God. Their prayer life is more than a hit and miss. It’s a constant open door with God. They are in church and engaged in learning all they can about discipleship.
If you aren’t actively doing any one of these things you will never have a vibrant relationship with Christ and your desire for discipleship will remain in neutral.
It’s when we become engaged in activities within the church, or when we participate in Bible Studies both in the home and with others, its when we have a vibrant prayer life, it’s when we share our faith with others and it’s when we stay focused that our desire becomes a reality.
Proverbs 21:5 “Good planning and hard work leads to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.”
Joshua 1:8 “Study this Book of Instruction continually.  Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it.  Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”
In both of these verses, we are told that good planning, hard work, studying and meditating will pay off and we will succeed and prosper. It requires work. I can’t desire to be a great marathon runner, sit back and hope it happens. In order to be a great marathon runner, I have to put some work into it. I have to train, practice and focus on running a little bit every day.
The last thing we must remember is that God made us uniquely different. He doesn’t want copycats or puppets.  What he desires for one person may be different for another. If we are putting in all the effort and doing all the hard work but our faith still looks different maybe it’s because God has us on a different path. All paths go in different directions, but ultimately we end up together and receive God’s blessings.  We must not desire what others have, instead, we must desire what God wants for us. We must realize whatever he has for us is what’s best for us. So while it may be humanly possible for me to do what these young women do, it may not be best for me; it may not be God’s desire for me.
We must remember if we are putting our best effort forward than we are doing what God’s desire is for us. We have to accept where we are on this journey and know we will get where we want to be in time.
Getting motivated, doing some hard work and accepting who you are and where you are right now is all we need to get the desired results we want. Remember this prayer and apply it every day to your life:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; 
the courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.”
Dear God: I thank you for these ladies. Thank you for reminding me it’s all about motivation and not always about wishing. Help me as I work towards being a disciple of Christ. Give me the courage to get motivated, to move forward while at the same time serenity for those these I cannot change. Help me to be at peace with where I am at in my life. Thank you for sending little reminders along the way that keeps me focused on you. In all these things I pray. Amen