Faith Training
Devotional

Faith Training

January 8, 2024

Faith Training

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

Last week we were reminded that in Christ we have new life. This new life comes from the work of God alone, and involves transformation from our hearts to our actions. But transformation doesn’t happen instantly. God is constantly shaping us to be more like Christ. This process of transformation, or in theological terms, sanctification, is a lifelong one.

Like with other skills, spiritual growth takes time, and intentionality. The best NFL quarterbacks didn’t wake up with the ability to throw a perfect spiral. Most would tell you it took years of training, practicing, and studying plays. A fashion designer didn’t make their best piece of clothing on the first try. They probably had lots of missteps and thumb pricks along the way. Even an effort to become healthier doesn’t happen overnight. It starts with small decisions, like cutting out sweets or exercising more. Growth is progressive and accompanied by small daily decisions.

The same is true in our spiritual lives. When we accept Christ as our Savior, God frees us from our bondage to sin. But the transformation doesn’t stop there. The Holy Spirit is constantly working in our lives, and God invites us to be a part of that work. Philippians 1:6 says that we can be confident that God “who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.” Sanctification is about the work God does to make us more like Christ and the way we participate by continually turning away from a life of sin.

It isn’t always easy to put in the work, but it is vital. In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul stresses just how important it is. In the Message, verses 25-27 read “All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got.”

As Christians, we have already been given the greatest prize, but that doesn’t mean we stop running the race. We should be constantly striving to grow in our spiritual lives. God has given us tools to help us and the Holy Spirit to empower us.

So, over the next few weeks we will look at some of those tools, such as prayer, worship, and fasting. These practices may seem daunting, but my hope is that we will see how small changes, accompanied by the movement of the Holy Spirit, can attune our hearts to the work God is already doing.

As you go through this week, consider how God is inviting you to participate in the transformation he is doing? What area of your faith do you want to grow in? Be honest with yourself and God about what part of spiritual growth is most difficult for you.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, We praise you for the way you work in our lives and continually transform our hearts. Thank you for inviting us to be a part of that change. As we start this year, may spiritual growth be something we strive for and work at. May we have a deep desire to grow closer to you and willing hearts to be more intentional about our faith walk. Thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit that empowers us to do so. It is in your son’s name we pray, Amen.

Makalah Scholten
Spiritual Care Coordinator

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