If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength! Proverbs 24:10 (NIV)
Proverbs is not a book for the â€˜feel good Christianâ€™. If you want to grow and strengthen as a child of God, itâ€™s a book that you may want to read every day. I know some Christians that are examples to me that read a chapter a day, every day, in Proverbs. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs so it works out well to read one a day!
The writer says to me here, â€œJody, there are going to be troubles. They are â€˜seasonsâ€™. They have a beginning and an end. It will feel like you are trudging up a steep mountain. You want to exercise that spiritual muscle of yours so you are prepared for these times! You do not want to stumble during the season of trouble! Prepare now and build your strength!â€ Ok. How do I do that?
Exercise and diet. That is the real answer to maintaining good physical health, isnâ€™t it? It is also the real answer to good spiritual health!
Exercise: This means more than sitting in church on Sunday and being spoon fed by my pastor and Sunday School teacher. There are â€˜couch potatoesâ€™ in the Church, too! Do I take notes? Do I go home and reread the passage for myself and think about what it means to me? Do I make time/prioritize my time to read my Bible EVERY DAY?!!!!! Do I have a devotion routine? If I spend money and time on a physical exercise program, isnâ€™t spending time and money on a spiritual devotion program even more important?
Diet: With what do I fill myself? How much TV time fills me and what kind of TV do I consume?
And here is a tough one: my friends. With whom do I spend time? I am blessed by good friends. They encourage me. They talk straight to me but Iâ€™ve never doubted their love. They are the friends that know me. Jesus had 12 disciples. He had only 3 who were close. Thereâ€™s a good example there. One of the most difficult areas to put on a diet when I gave my life to Jesus was my friends. Jesus changed me. I now had different values, different priorities. It was difficult to make those changes. I wanted my â€˜oldâ€™ friends to come along with me in my new, improved life! I can think of them even today and say a prayer that God wonâ€™t give up on them just as He didnâ€™t give up on me.
“Now then, my sons, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways.
Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it.
Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.
For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD.
But whoever fails to find me harms himself; all who hate me love death.â€
Proverbs 8:32-36 (NIV)
Jesus said He came to give us life â€“ abundant life. Conversely, if we say, â€œNoâ€ to Jesus then we are choosing death. Jesus came here. Jesus lived here. He did that so we would know that we have Someone to follow through this life. We do not have to forge a new path. We can follow His path. No matter what may come, Jesus is there. He is our GREAT strength in times of trouble.