"Eat your broccoli, exercise, keep your stress levels low, pay it forward in your community and get eight hours of sleep a night," they say.
These are the things we're told will lead to a full and healthy life.
Why is it that our culture is more unhappy, unhealthy and stressed than ever before?
One of my favorite passages of Scripture, Proverbs 3:3-8 (NIV) reads: "Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones."
We can eat our vegetables, clock in hours at the gym every week, serve meals at the local soup kitchen and go to bed at a reasonable hour, but without faith, our lives will never be as full or as spiritually rich and healthy as they could be.
Several years ago, my life was as empty as a Chick-Fil-A nugget basket after being left out at a party all night. To the outside world, I was a championship swimmer and frequent pageant runner-up finalist who had straight A's and the perfect boyfriend, but on the inside, I felt like I was drowning—lost in a sea of depression, anxiety and chronic pain.
I wanted to trust that God would come to my rescue, but He didn't. I grew bitter and stopped believing He cared about me. Fortunately, by God's grace, He wooed me back to Him and restored me—first my faith, and then my health.
It was in this journey of losing and finding faith that I discovered three incredible benefits of diving into a life of courageous faith and trust in God.
Although I could list enough benefits to fill up hundreds of blog posts, these are the top three benefits that only a life of faith can bring.
Holy Confidence and Purpose
When we put all our faith in God, we can move forward in our lives with confidence, knowing He has our backs and when His Word says we have a divine purpose, it means what it says! And while swimming through life with Jesus isn't always easy or straightforward, when we reach out to Him, He will guide us through every high and stormy gale.
Victory Over Doubt and Fear
Victory, sweet victory.
I still remember my first taste of it when I qualified for the Indiana Age Group State Championships in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle and butterfly. The victory of simply being on deck at the famous IUPUI Natatorium was sweeter than Southern iced tea with a side of pecan pie.
What about you? Can you recall a time when you experienced victory in your own life? Maybe you landed the dream job you thought you could never achieve. Maybe you crushed a sporting record. Maybe you became a parent. Maybe you mastered an instrument you always wanted to learn how to play.
What did the victory taste like? How did it feel? Did you jump for joy, sing a song, smile, dance or pump your fists in the air?
Meeting goals and seizing victory in life feel amazing. But the victory we have in Christ, who conquered death for our salvation—well, that victory is more amazing than anything we can imagine. And when we learn to live with that victory always in the back of our minds, we will finally experience the mindset of victory God longs for us to have.
I don't think I've ever watched a Super Bowl or Stanley Cup game where the winning team didn't overflow with joy and storm the field or ice rink when the clock ran out. It's no wonder, because when you're on the winning team, everything you've trained for, everything you've fought for and everything you've believed in becomes true and worth it. Beloved, with God on your side, you are on the winning team!
Being on the winning team means that every minute you spend praying and reading God's Word; every day you chase hard after God and follow His leading; every time you suit up and make God-honoring decisions; every time you choose faith over fear; every time you trust God's promises over your problems—it's all worth it. Because in the end, we win. This life is only the beginning, and it's nothing compared to the eternity we get to spend with Jesus in the wonder of heaven. Oh, what joy!
Lauren Gaskill is an author, speaker and host of the "She Found Joy" podcast and She Found Joy Ladies Night Out events. Gaskill is a storyteller who believes stories are powerful and loves how God uses them for His good. She writes and speaks to motivate and inspire others to experience abundant life in Christ. She is the author of Into the Deep: Diving Into a Life of Courageous Faith.Find her online at LaurenGaskillInspires.com or on Facebook (lauren.gaskill.inspires), Twitter (lauren_inspires) and Instagram (lauren_inspires).
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Great Resources to help you excel in 2019! #1 John Eckhardt's "Prayers That..." 6-Book Bundle. Prayer helps you overcome anything life throws at you. Get a FREE Bonus with this bundle. #2 Learn to walk in the fullness of your purpose and destiny by living each day with Holy Spirit. Buy a set of Life in the Spirit, get a second set FREE.