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I have a new spiritual practice that I hope will help me build spiritual muscle this winter. No matter how bad the weather is, I will not complain, but instead find a way to be thankful.

Recently during my personal devotions I read, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1Th 5:16ff NIV). So, I am beginning a three-month “exercise program” where I will refrain from grumbling and gripping about the winter weather. Because I know this is going to be a challenge, I announced my intentions on Facebook so that I would have public accountability. I not only gave my “friends” the right to point out my failings, I also gave them permission to tempt me into breaking my promise. Every day, in spite of the circumstances that the weather creates, I will try to be thankful and not complain.

A spiritual discipline or exercise is a practice that we can use to build godly characteristics. I have found that when I want to overcome something specific in my life that is not God-honoring, I create a practice that makes me tackle whatever isn’t right in my life. I just concluded a six-month practice to develop patience. What did I do? I intentionally put myself in situations that tested my patience. I found the longest checkout line in the store. I went to the gas pump where the previous driver had gone inside to pay for his gas or to buy Slim Jims. I refused to blow my car horn at the person in front of me who was not going on the green light because they were texting or applying makeup. At the very end of the six months, I used three and a half hours stopped on a closed interstate to work on remaining patient.

Like physical muscle, spiritual muscle isn’t formed without a long-term exercise program. Focusing for six months on building patience was the right amount of time for me. Spending the next three months of winter building thankfulness is the duration set by the seasons of the year. Like physical muscle, spiritual muscle takes an extended time of concentration and attention to grow.

What characteristic or attribute do you desire to acquire? Create a series of intentional actions that will build up that specific characteristic in you.




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