Something we don’t talk about too often, we always talk about physical health and getting into shape and staying healthy, staying away from foods that will cause us to gain large amounts of weight. Doing whatever is necessary to maintain a great physique. We get up early in the morning and workout, we stay late at the gyms and workout. We sacrifice so that we can have a great toned, admirable figure.
But what about our spiritual muscle? Do we spend this same amount of time working on our INSIDES as we do on our outside appearance? Do we wake up early in the morning to read our bibles, pray to God thanksgiving and for waking us up in the morning? Do we spend time in prayer urgently praying for God to renew our minds and keep us focused on the path he has for us? Do we stay up late to spend time with God? When we miss a day do we feel out of sorts and in need of a “quick lift”?
I’m asking this question because I don’t believe we spend a lot of time exercising our faith and building spiritual muscle in this life. We are so outwardly focused all the time and inwardly wasting away.
So my main question is this: Who are you feeding? Your spirit or your flesh? When you feed your spirit, you gain spiritual muscle to fight the sins in your life, THAT WILL COME DAILY.
This picture is a great depiction of the spiritual battle against us and our flesh:
I run into this problem everyday, I can wake up and choose JOY or I can focus on whatever problem my day brings…The choice is always up to me. The problem is if my spiritual muscle is weak I wont choose Joy. I realize every time I fail at something that 1.) I haven’t been filling up my spiritual tank. 2.) I’m human and in need of Gods love and grace. I wont receive either of these two things if my spirit is always low.
Comparing our spiritual muscles with physical exercise is perfect because they work one in the same. Whatever you exercise gets healthier and stronger. The bad thing is if you are feeding your flesh it will get stronger. Lets think about how we feel when we have a great workout or run, we feel liberated, we feel great about ourselves and more confident in our ability to wear certain clothing and just feel good all around. This same principle applies to us when we exercise and feed our spirits, we feel better spiritually, we feel that we can conquer the world the more we gain knowledge of Gods power and the power we have to combat our sin nature. We no longer walk around feeling sluggish and complaining and whining, we have confidence in our God and the newness we see growing in our attitudes overtime.
You feel great when others tell you ” wow you don’t react like you used to when things like this happen”, you are so much more patient and kind, you are not messy like you used to be, you don’t gossip about everyone and throw shade at people like you used to”. Then after these statements are made there is usually the question: What made you change?
Building and maintaining spiritual muscle is not a 1,2, 3 magic show. It takes the spirit of God working inside your heart as you put forth the effort to practically apply what his word teaches us in all areas. If you struggle with patience, intentionally wait for things with a positive attitude and don’t throw fits when they don’t occur. If you struggle with lust, cast down those thoughts when they come and choose NOT to look at a certain person and imagine being with them in an intimate way, if you struggle with lying, start practicing telling the truth even if it makes you look silly or hurts, if you struggle with laziness, set times and do things even when you don’t feel like it to build discipline. Most of all, think about how much your sin separate’s you from God and how he thinks of it, think about how it is disgusting to the Lord and he wants you to be better.
When something is important to us we make sure we do it. Is fighting your sin and building spiritual muscle important you? Is it as urgent for you to fight for that as it is for you to workout your body so you wont get fat and unhealthy? What do you care about more? You can be physically fit on the outside and a fat, nasty, lazy hoarder of sins on the inside. Remember this scripture:
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
What is inside your heart that’s not pleasing to God? Are you building up enough spiritual muscle to fight it?
The devil wants nothing more than for us to be distracted and burdened down with the problems of this world so we wont be able to hear God spiritually, or fight spiritually. When we choose not to fight spiritually, we are surrendering to the devil automatically. We live in a fallen world, we were born into sin once we were born into this world, when God pursued us (Thank you Jesus for your saving grace) and we gave our lives to him, the battle doesn’t end there. It actually STARTS THERE. It makes no sense logically to think that you are going to lose weight by hoping for it, it takes HARD WORK and dedication to lose weight, it takes keeping motivated people around you, it takes keeping all the materials used to shed weight in the living room with you. Reminders of your goals. So the same thing goes for us spiritually, we cant think that we are going to grow spiritually by wishing for it, with all the material around you ( community of believers to walk with, bibles, devotionals, etc.) but you don’t use them correctly. LETS GET SERIOUS about this!
Growth in this walk of faith takes time and dedication and PATIENCE. You will not see results in 24hours, now I am not limiting God he CAN DO IT and 24 hours if he chooses too, he could make changes in your heart in seconds even, but those moments are up to him and NOT US. We need to stick to the reality that good things happening in our hearts and minds take time.
This goes the same for our bodies, when we workout for a couple days we don’t immediately see results, but after some time we start to become confident in our image, we start to see inches lost in the mirror, we become more slimmer and toned. I don’t know about you, but when I work out and see results, I am empowered to keep going so that I can see MORE!
Develop this same mindset when you are focusing on growing spiritually and developing your spiritual muscle. We have to be patient enough to keep going so that we can see results! Keep in mind, Serena Williams wasn’t built in one day. LOL. She is a beautiful representation of dedication and results shown from daily hard work and focus. The same will happen for you over time, people will notice your growth and it will be an indication of all the work you are putting in behind closed doors. Don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t able to spit the word like a well known pastor or teacher of the word. Don’t compare your walk to another person. ( check my last blog on comparison.) Focus on the workout plan God has you on. Moving forward in growth is the key, not remaining stagnant is the key. Results will come.
Remain confident in the fact that you are growing. After a while you won’t curse as much as you used too, you won’t desire to lose your temper on someone, but will feel a godly sorrow towards them to pray for them instead, you wont desire to lust, you will cast those thoughts down as soon as they come and start to hate that sin, because God hates it. The more you fall in love with Jesus, the more you will desire too exercise and feed your spirit. You will be on the journey of becoming who God wants you to be, a BETTER version of yourself. More loving, more patient, more kind. Showing more of the fruit of the spirit instead of your old ways.
PEOPLE NOTICE CHANGES WITH YOU, give God glory by living a life that shows his power through changes in your attitude and heart. Let’s exercise our spiritual muscles and feed our spirits! I cant wait to hear about your results!