November 17 - Spiritual Muscles

By Alice Northcutt

Today's Scripture: James 1:2,12

Central Thought: We would never develop spiritual muscles if we did not face trials that required us to depend on God's help.

    Muscles! They are necessary for us to function physically. We must exercise in order to develop strong muscles. Physical labor may provide sufficient exercise for some. Some own exercise equipment, others have health club or gym memberships that allow them access to exercise equipment and programs. Still others walk or run to stay in shape. Athletes participate in rigorous exercise programs to develop and tone their muscles for competitive sports activities.

    Spiritual muscles are just as important as physical muscles. In his epistle, James addresses the issue of various kinds of trials that Christians face (v. 2). He even says we should count it joy to meet these trials, and he concludes verse 4 by listing the end goal of these trials as "that [we] may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." James warns against doubt and self-exaltation (v. 5-11) as he points us to steadfastness in our trials (v. 12).

    The final goal of strong spiritual muscles is a crown of life—a promise of God to those who love Him (v. 12). None of us enjoy trials, but we can all enjoy the reward of eternal life if we stick with God's spiritual exercise program rather than giving in to temptations that are designed to entice and lure us away from God.

Devotional Prayer: Lord, help me to stay true to You, and to grow stronger as a result of the tests and trials I face in my life.

Today's Bible Reading: Ezekiel 35:1-36:38; James 1:1-18; Psalm 116:1-19; Proverbs 27:23-27