by Sharman J. Monroe
I’m guilty. I’ve written post after post talking about the value of reading or listening to material that improves the way you think and act. An enlightened mind takes your thoughts and actions to new, higher levels of achievement. The Bible teaches:
Do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes]. Romans 12:2 (AMP)
And I’ve spent my time doing exactly that – focusing on my personal development by reading and listening to materials that enhance my thinking and actions.
But recently I had a revelation. Personal development encompasses more than the way you think. It also encompasses other areas of your life.
- Your Physical Being. The Word teaches:
Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 1 Corinthians 6:19 (NJKV)
But [like a boxer] I strictly discipline my body and make it my slave… 1 Corinthians 9:27 (AMP)
Your body is a temple, a sacred creation. You don’t misuse and abuse your church building, which is also a temple, so don’t misuse and abuse your body. Being healthy is vital. If you feel sluggish, you act sluggishly. Be sure to incorporate exercise into your day. You can start small by just adding more walking during your day. Invest in a good pedometer to count your steps. Exercise reduces stress, and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. Watch what you eat. A steady diet of fast food, skipped breakfasts and snack food can lead to deficiencies in the nutrients and vitamins that your body needs to function properly. Add more fruit, vegetables and water to your diet. You will feel great and have more energy!
- Your Finances. The Word teaches:
Bring all the tithes (the tenth) into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you [so great] a blessing until there is no more room to receive it. Malachi 3:10 (AMP)
Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8 (NJKV)
Be diligent to know the state of your flocks… Proverbs 27:23 (NJKV)
God gives us a lot of instruction on how to handle money so it doesn’t become an idol or control us. I don’t need to tell you how stressful dealing with money can be. You can relieve that stress by, first and foremost, tithing at least 10% of your gross income. Then make a spending plan (I don’t like the word “budget”) each month for the balance of the income, deducting expenditures daily. Create a plan to reduce your debt and set up a savings account to which you add a set amount (say, $5.00) every time you earn income. Also, create a tax drawer containing a folder for each month and put your receipts for tax-deductible items into folders as you get them in preparation for tax time. If you need to, hire a good Christian financial planner who will teach you how to do these and other things to help you. Don’t allow your finances to control you; you control them!
- Your Relationship with Others. The Word teaches:
If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18 (AMP)
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers and overwhelms all transgressions [forgiving and overlooking another’s faults]. Proverbs 10:12 (AMP)
Unfortunately, we live in a world inhabited by people who are imperfect just as we are; you can’t get avoid them. You can, however, build relationships with people who encourage, support and add value to you. Stay away from emotional vampires who revel in gossip and 24/7 drama, and who drain your energy and self-esteem. Each day, focus on what you can do for someone else. It can be small like smiling at others, saying hello and opening doors. You can be a ray of sunshine to someone. Another side benefit – you’ll also like yourself more!
- Your Emotional State. The Word teaches:
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control]. 2 Timothy 1:7 (AMP)
Not that I speak from [any personal] need, for I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances. Philippians 4:11 (AMP)
Are you a touchy person? Do you fly off the handle easily? Do you live on an emotional rollercoaster, up one minute and down the next? You weren’t designed to live this way. You’ll wear yourself out. Stop it! Develop your muscle of self-control. Breath and count to ten before you respond to someone. Repeat back to him or her what was said to make sure you understood correctly. When a problem arises, be still. A calm mind can find a good solution faster than an upset mind. And remember, sometimes a person doesn’t speak to you because he or she just didn’t see you.
- Your Spiritual Relationship. The Word teaches:
But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also. Matthew 6:33 (AMP)
God wants to be an active part of your whole life. He is concerned about everything about you and wants to guide you to the best He has for you. Take time to develop a deeper relationship with God. Read and study the Bible, and apply its principles in your daily life. Spending time with God doesn’t mean hours and hours. Start with five minutes during your commute, lunch or the kid’s naptime. Pray to Him. A prayer doesn’t have to be formalized with a bunch of fancy intricate words. A simple “Thank you Lord” when you get that unexpected parking space is a prayer. Just talk to Him. The more time I’ve spent with God, the easier it’s become for me to understand the Bible and apply its principles in my life. I’ve also become more calm and peaceful about people and situations in life.
Of course, there are other scriptures that support your development in the above areas. Write them down so you can remember them and grow as God wants you to grow. Develop strategies to improve in the above areas in your life and you will reap the reward of being a healthier, well-rounded, loving and prosperous person with great friendships. Since we now live in a tech-driven world, there are apps available today to help you develop in each of these areas. My next post will focus on those apps for iPhone and Android devices.
QUESTION FOR COMMENT: What other scriptures support the areas listed?