You've seen the ads.
A photo of a pot-bellied, hairy man who looks unhappy is posed next to the same man, newly shaved, tanned with ripped abs and a toned body.
Well, now, stories are emerging of people who are debunking the myth of the before and after shots that circulate online all too often as marketing for weight loss programs.
People are revealing these "before and after" gimmicky weight loss shots for what many of them are: schemes.
A great example is Andrew Dixon via Twenty Two. These photos are taken within hours of one another:
Honestly, the photos awe me.
But sometimes, I think we fall into the same kind of thinking in our spiritual lives. That with just the right quick insight or five easy steps we'll be—bam!—spiritually ripped. We'll be able to bench press any adversity, parkour over every obstacle, and chin lift the righteous response to every situation.
But the people who grow in spiritual depth and strength tend to take the same path. They're:
Persistent. Consistent. Disciplined. Over time.
Spiritual disciplines like Bible study, prayer, fasting, Sabbath, silence, and solitude mark their lives. If you look close, you'll discover an ongoing pattern of engagement in community, service, and giving. These pilgrims aren't interested in quick fixes as much as making the long journey in the same direction toward Christ. With each step. With movement forward. Rarely at the pace they anticipate.
Yet somewhere along the way something holy happens.
They bear a greater resemblance to Jesus.
[Tweet "Spiritual disciplines, much like the gym, can change our lives."] But to experience transformation, we need to commit over the long haul. Seeking God when it isn't easy. Pursuing Him when we don't feel like it. Continuing to pray even when all we hear is silence. Studying the Bible even when it's not riveting. Serving others when there's no thank you. Loving when it doesn't make sense.
You are called to a long walk in the same direction. Be persistent. Be consistent. Be disciplined.
"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." –Philippians 1:6
Let's practice this in-it-for-the-long-haul, persistent, consistent discipline together, shall we? Join me this summer for a season of spiritual transformation and growth, as we explore how to hear from God through prayer.
Lace up your walking shoes and get ready because hearing from God will change the entire posture of your life. Prepare to deepen your relationship with God and ignite your prayer life.
In celebration of the end of the year, we're having a Graduation Flash Sale! Pick up a copy of Everything Twenties (regularly $22.99) or 20 Things You Should Read (regularly $12.99) for $4.99 each.
From defining your relationships, managing your money and career, to strengthening your faith, and exploring your image and culture, Everything Twentys: Designing Your Best Decade will help young adults make the most of their lives as they transition to adulthood.
Designed to introduce twentysomethings to such classic Christian thinkers and writers as C. S. Lewis, D. L. Moody, and Thomas a Kempis, 20 Things You Should Read is a compilation of the most influential writers and writings in Christian literature.
When are you tempted to become frustrated with the rate of your spiritual growth?