Here we are again. The holidays are over (Thanksgiving and Christmas), and we are rapidly moving towards the new year. For many, waistlines are up, credit card balances are up, stress is up, and it is time for the annual reset.
For those who are athletes, unless you participate in a winter sport, this is the offseason. Offseason starts with a short rest/recovery break (1-2 weeks) and then it is back to basics. This is a time when the focus is building up and strengthening our body.
During the season there is little time for strengthening, typically the focus is about maintaining peak performance level. Maintaining the base helps athletes avoid injuries and allows them to be at their best for whatever competition comes.
For so many, whether they are athletes or not, the desire for the new year should be to “Be the best you can be in 2023.” This is an admirable goal. But as Christians, this focus can keep us from being who God has called us to be.
I have already planned races for 2023, and there are things I need to do to be at my best. My reason for racing is because it will force me to train. And I train to stay healthy. But my focus on my health isn’t about looking good. God made it clear to me around 10 years ago that I needed to focus on my health if I was going to be who He called me to be.
Health is a limiting factor for so many people. Focusing on my health isn’t about living longer, but being able to do anything God asks me to. It’s the same for financial or emotional health. I focus on these things so that I can be who He has called me to be.
Physically, we are to honor God with our bodies…
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Cor. 6:19-20 NIV
We are also supposed to honor God with our finances…
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also... No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matt. 6:19-21,24 NIV
And with our emotional health…
“Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:15-16 NIV
But most of all, our spiritual health…
“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Col. 3:16-17 NIV
As we look to the new year, as Christians, we look to put Jesus first in our lives in every area. This doesn’t mean that we don’t focus on physical, financial, emotional, or spiritual health, but that we need to do all of those things so that we can be who God has called us to be in 2023. May He be our focus. And may He be what drives us in all those other areas.