Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Children Of The Heavenly King"1 (Lyrics)
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 – Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (NIV)
It was time again — though I dreaded it — to break in the new winter work mitts, before the temperatures dropped below the -20s. The old mitts were so comfortable and had formed to fit my hands so well, but the linings were worn, and it was time to bring out a new pair. New ones are always so bulky and difficult to do chores in, though, until they have become shaped to my hands. Yet, if I didn't discipline myself to start breaking them in now, I knew that I would regret it when the really cold temperatures came and I needed them for their extra warmth.
So, as I have been breaking in these new mitts and forming them to the shape of my hands, I have also been thinking of how I need to be shaped more and more to the contours of God's hand — His likeness.
The more that I work in my new mitts, the more quickly their shape changes to become like mine, making them more comfortable and pliable, which allows me to work in them with so much more ease and productivity.
Likewise, the more time I spend with God, through the spiritual disciplines of Bible study, prayer, and fellowship, the more His Holy Spirit is able to shape me into His will and way. I become more comfortable with the contours of His will and the way His hand works within our lives and the world. In turn, this makes me more able to accomplish His will as He assigns me tasks to promote His kingdom.
In the end, I always benefit from applying the necessary discipline to break in those new mitts before I really need them when winter flings its coldest temperatures at me. Likewise, the discipline that it takes to become more and more accustomed and shaped to God's hand, His will and way, is always to our benefit day by day. Besides, we will be prepared to withstand the major storms of life that come upon us in all their ferocity, and also to be witnesses to all those around us of the goodness and love of God amidst them.
Prayer: Father God, bless us with the desire and motivation to do the things that we need to do that place us in a position where Your Holy Spirit is able to work within our lives to make us more and more like You. Fit us to the contour of Your hand that we might be of the utmost blessing to You, ourselves, and others within this world. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.