Have you ever read the verse “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” and wondered HOW?
Of course, we want to do this! More than we can ever verbally express, we want to live for God with our entire being, but how? Then I think of Luke 2:40:
And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him. (NIV)
When I read this, I fill with hope. Jesus grew.
It’s a process. It’s all about growing in the Lord. Growing is a process. A seed must be planted and watered. The roots must grow deep into the earth and bring about stability so the rest of the plant can grow without toppling over. Slowly, it matures until it is ripe and ready for harvest.
We are no different than Jesus. We will love him with all our heart, all our soul, and all our strength, IF we are willing to take the time to plant the seed, water it, and let it take root in our lives. We’ve got the grace of God and the Holy Spirit is living in us!
As I think of this verse and how we want to grow more in love with the Lord daily, I realize that we have to incorporate our entire beings, not just our spiritual side. We have to engage every part of ourselves–our body, our mind, our heart, and our soul!
So I want to introduce this challenge–a challenge to myself and to you as well to take small steps to a big life change.
“The Encouragement Challenge”
is all about focusing on our walk with God and not just fleeting New Year’s Resolutions!
Day by day, what we are seeking is to grow our relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ, and many times we need a physical friend (as well as the Holy Spirit) to encourage us along the way as we invite Him into all areas of our lives. So that is our challenge for January. We want to walk with you on this journey as we grow closer to our Lord and encourage you every step of the way in all areas of your life.
Starting January 4, we will be offering interactive ways to encourage you as you take small steps to make a big life change.
1. Sign up now to receive our newsletter so you can receive all the info that will keep you encouraged during “The Encouragement Challenge” including:
- The Encouragement Challenge Calendar so you can stay on track to fulfilling what God is calling you to this year.
- A Weekly Exercise Video Series that includes daily exercises with a video at the end of the week that includes the entire combination. This is a 5-minute exercise series that will help everyone (from beginner to returning from injuries to advanced) strengthen their bodies with things around the house. This will help us strengthen our bodies so we can physically serve our Lord, our families, and others. Double or triple this series for a more intense workout and still get it done in 15 minutes!
- Scripture memorization cards.
- A list of encouraging music that will get you moving and fill your soul with inspiration.
2. Follow us on Twitter & Periscope at Create_GreatDay! Kristi will be scoping her Encouragement Challenge journey and would love for you to share yours too! It’s a great way to stay accountable.
3. Share your wins with us on our Facebook page! We will have a daily “Encouragement Challenge Wins” thread where we would love for you to share your daily wins with us. You might share what passage you read that day, what devotional book you’re enjoying, or that you drank water instead of a Coke. Whatever you are focusing on, we want to cheer you on too!
4. Mark your calendars for January 30 from 9:30am-12:00pm. Our very own contributors Julie and Toni will be facilitating a Real Food Cooking Class in Edmond, OK. More details to come.
Here’s a glimpse into the first exercise of the first week’s series.
It make look easy but it will build your strength!
Right now God might be wanting you to focusing on one area. Great, let us be your cheerleader along your journey and you can be ours! Just knowing that we have others who are walking the same struggles and being accountable gives us the courage to continue on even when we don’t feel like it.
I’m sure you already have an idea of where you want to grow in the Lord first, but if you need some ideas, I will throw some out too. We encourage you to be praying about how God wants to grow you and follow His lead.
Honoring our bodies as a temple of the Holy Spirit by:
- Treating our bodies with respect.
- Listening to God’s image of us instead of the world’s image of us.
- Exercising in order to become physically strong to do God’s work.
- Nourishing our bodies better so we can stay healthy.
- Working towards honing a skill that God is calling us to use for his kingdom.
- Removing addictive behaviors whether that’s what we consider smaller things like binge junk-food eating to what we normally consider vices–smoking, excessive drinking, sex outside of marriage, etc.
Filling our hearts and minds with the things of God by:
- Being in God’s word consistently.
- Memorizing scripture and writing it on our hearts.
- Filling our minds with things that are noble.
- Taking the 30 day KLove challenge of listening to Christian music for thirty days.
- Choosing different TV shows (You know, not watching the ones we watch but wouldn’t feel comfortable watching if Jesus were sitting next to us.)
- Taking our thoughts captive.
- Believing what God says about us instead of others’ criticisms.
- Not harboring negative thoughts of others in our hearts.
- Believing we are worthy of God’s love. (Oh, how Satan uses the world to smash our image!)
Growing spiritually by:
- Praying more – maybe starting once a day or working towards praying without ceasing.
- Praying for others specifically.
- Allowing joy to be present in every situation.
- Living in the understanding that no matter what happens on Earth, our souls are forever protected by God.
- Trusting God to be faithful.
- Obeying the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- Engaging our children in our spiritual growth so they can grow as they walk with us.
- Picking a devotional book to read through or a Bible study to attend.
These are all just ideas. The list is endless, but pray about where God wants you to start. We are each on our own journey but here to encourage each other along the way. Our journeys will look different from anyone else’s. I will be focusing on some of the things above this year and can’t wait to learn what you will be focusing on!
The best piece of advice I’ve ever received about making changes in my life was this:
Pick one thing you want to add to your life and start adding it. Once it feels natural and you’ve got the hang of it, add the next thing. This will keep you from being overwhelmed and stressed out.
Small steps in one or more of these areas will open our lives to loving God with our complete being!