Strengthen Your Spiritual Muscles

1 Corinthians 9:27  (NLT)
27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
Hebrews 6:1  (NLT)
6 So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding.
Ephesians 6:10-18  (NLT)
1A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we[a] are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.[b] 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.[c] 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.[d]
 2 Peter 1:5-8  (NLT)
In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 3:8-11  (NLT)
Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.[a]For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!

As most of you know, a little over a year and a half ago I suffered injuries from a really bad fall. I am still in physical therapy but praise God I can walk now without the aid of a cane. Now that my legs are much stronger and the nerves in my back seem to be a bit quieter, things are looking better.

I now realize, how being immobile for so long has weakened the rest of my body. The muscles in my upper back and arms are much weaker than they should be. Therefore my doctor is putting me back into physical therapy to strengthen my upper body as well. Nothing like a great fall to tear your body apart.

I was not excited about more physical therapy but thrilled that God has blessed me to be able to receive the treatments that I need.

Yesterday as I was leaving the doctor’s office, thoughts started to pop into my head regarding our spiritual muscles. Just as our physical muscles can become weak due to the lack of conditioning them, the same thing can happen to our spiritual muscles.

All muscles whether physical or spiritual, become weak if they are not consistently being used. All we have to do is go for a few days without reading our bibles or forget to pray for a day or so, and our muscles start to weaken. We can miss one Sunday at church, and before we know it, a month has gone by, since we stepped inside a worship service. This is the same thing that happens when we miss a day or two at the gym. I think we all can relate to that.

All of a sudden we start to miss our weekly Bible Study, and shortly after, we are alienating ourselves from other Christian sisters and brothers. The very ones who are there to give us emotional and spiritual encouragement, and to support us through difficult times.

I want to encourage you to take a moment, to really evaluate the strength of your spiritual muscles. When is the last time that you spent a good hour alone with God, or when is the last time that you memorized scriptures or meditated on a passage of scripture to give yourself strength for your journey? All of these things build spiritual muscles. Are you spiritually weak?

When we are strong spiritually, (which is only by God’s power working through us) we are not so easily thrown off balance when the enemy throws a blow. Notice I didn’t say if he throws a blow, but when, because it is inevitable. You see when we are spiritually fit, we may rock from the blow, but we won’t fall over in despair.

When God is our focus, we draw strength from being in His presence. He equips us spiritually and emotionally for the journey that he has purposed for us.

Don’t allow your spiritual muscles to become flabby. When we don’t exercise our physical bodies we become flabby and the same thing happens spiritually. So let’s take a look at what it means to be spiritually flabby. To be spiritually flabby is to be:

F-Faithless in God’s ability to bring you through situations or in His ability to change your circumstances.
L– Lazy when it comes to studying God’s word.
A– Accepting of the enemy’s lies instead of God’s truth.
B– Bankrupt spiritually.
B– Being busy with one thing or the other is more important than spending quality time in God’s presence.
Y– Yield less to God. His will is second, third or fourth on your list, but not your first priority.

On the other hand, you can choose to have spiritual muscles.  This is what it looks like to be spiritually fit:

M– Moving towards God instead of away from God pleases you.
U– Using your gifts and talents to honor God.
S– Strengthened by God’s Power at work through you.
C -Careful to always give God the glory for any accomplishments in your life.
L -Loves to study God’s word and you joyfully make time to do so.
E– Elects to do God’s will. (Dying to self is the key here).
S– Serves God by serving others.

 Joshua 24:15  (NLT)
15 But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”

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