Spiritual Strength Training

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My wife Christa absolutely LOVES going to the gym. It baffles me. She feels some sort of a release by going to work at becoming stronger. To be honest I’m super new to the gym. Quite frankly, for the most part I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m slightly worried that someone might secretly video tape me working out and post it on Facebook. I can see it now, I walk over to the computer in the morning with my cup of tea and open up Facebook to find an embarrassing video of myself with a million views. I know it’s possible because I always click on those ‘work out gone wrong’ videos clips. I watch, laugh and feel bad for that person because I can relate. To make matters worse, Christa says I make weird faces when I’m trying to lift something heavy. Needless to say I’m rarely excited to go to the gym. Christa has taught me ab work outs, leg work outs, shoulder and chest work outs and arm work outs. Don’t like em… There is one work out I discovered that I really enjoy. I take this giant bouncy ball thing and just lay on it. Yep, that’s all you do… That’s the one I like.funny-horse-is-tonning-his-core-with-an-exercise-ball I can lay there totally happy and get a good laugh from my wife. However, if I laying on a ball is the extent of my workout I would be fooling myself to say that I’m pursuing staying physically fit, let alone growing stronger. So why does this hard work seem like fun to Christa and dreaded work to me? How do I get excited about something that is hard and uncomfortable? While I work out these personal questions, let me tell you what I do know about growing stronger.

 

We are surrounded by physical realities that give us insight into spiritual truths. For instance we read that God is light and in Him is no darkness. If we did not have the sun to reveal to us the physical reality of light it would be slightly difficult to grasp the truth of God being light. Spiritual truth is always a superior reality. God is not the sun and the sun is not God. The sun is not eternal but God is eternal. So we know that God was in existence before the sun. That makes the sun a physical creation to reveal to us a spiritual truth of what God is like. Let’s make it simple. That thing up in the sky that is 27 million degrees and so powerful that it can burn you just by being within 92,960,000 miles of it. That thing that gives us the ability to continually sustain life. Ya that thing. That thing has never stopped telling us what God is like.

“Even if you can’t see the sun or choose to look away, it is what allows you to see everything else.”

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We are surrounded by these amazing expressions telling a story of who God is and who we are in him. They explain the rich depths of wisdom and the simple pleasures of eternity. But we often miss them. Where am I going with this… Well let me ask you, “Do you want to grow stronger spiritually?”

Many times we are fooled into thinking that we must read the right books, listen to the right teachings and go to the right church in order to become spiritually strong and while these are all great things they are more or less the kitchen. Yep you heard right, the kitchen… let me explain. To become fit physically we have to learn to balance both what we eat and how we exercise. We can eat the best organic fruits and veggies. Chomp down on the most quality grass fed beef steaks and wild caught salmon (mmmm… speaking my language). We can get every vitamin our body desires and match it with a perfectly rounded diet of ‘The Good Stuff’. We can do all of this and not become much stronger. We may become healthier and feel better inside but it’s not enough if we want to become stronger. Similarly we can feed our soul and mind the finest teachings, books, conferences, church sermons, worship cd’s and a buffet of the word of God but feeding ourselves alone won’t build strength. For strength we need resistance, we need challenge, we need to be outside of our comfort zone. Now I’m not a certified physical trainer (although my wife is). I don’t know a whole lot about the body and the muscles that it contains but I do know something that might be of value to you. I know how to hear the voice of God. Lately God’s been speaking to me about the importance of spending time in the gym spiritually speaking. So let me ask you, when’s the last time you went to the spiritual gym? Maybe a better question is do you know how to get to the gym…

 

 

 

downloadGod loves to reveal himself. Because I know His heart (or at least some of it) I realize that I would be doing an injustice to explain to you what my spiritual work out looks like. We’re often sucked into this comparison game that tells us that if you do so much of something than I have to do the same exact thing to get the same results. It’s a problem at the gym and it’s a problem in our hearts. One reality we get to learn to celebrate is that each one of our bodies are created different and reacts differently. If I create a work out plan that works for me and then tell everyone around me that they have to do the exact same thing if they want the same results I would be Ignorant, not to mention it may be dangerous. We are created spiritually unique (Like NO one else). Remember the sun revealing what God is like, well our physical bodies reveal to us a piece of what our spiritual life is like. I am not going to tell you what my spiritual workout looks like. Trust me, it’s not because I’m spiritually macho and you may pull a faith muscle or sprain your hope if you try to do what I do… It’s quite the opposite. If I were to tell you what my work out looks like I may be embarrassed because I can only run a mile and lift a fraction of what I see others around me lifting (I’m still working on not comparing myself to others). I may only be able to do 10 spiritual pull ups but when I started working out I could barely do 2.

 

Rather than giving you a to-do list I am going to give you something I consider to be much more valuable. I’m going to give you a spiritual fitness exam. If you don’t know the answer to a question your homework is to ask God to reveal to you the answer and listen (Holy Spirit is our trainer). If the beginner exam is too simple then try a harder level of the exam. Good luck and thanks for coming to class.

 

Beginner

 

Do you know what to do to grow stronger spiritually?

Are you in Contact with your trainer?

What does the way you eat (spiritually) reveal about your desire to become stronger?

Are you becoming weaker, just staying fit or purposefully growing stronger?

Do you have a workout plan?

What are the 5 different resistance workouts that you do to grow you faith?

(Few simple examples) sharing faith with a stranger, asking a co-worker if you can pray for them, sing worship in public, preach at a park, tell an unbelieving family member what God thinks about them, pray for the sick TO BE HEALED, volunteer for something, spend 15 minutes praying alone, give sacrificially, do something hard or inconvenient to benefit someone else, do something good for someone who you know doesn’t like you, talk to someone who looks hurt, get up in front of a crowd or class and talk about your faith… Don’t forget to change them up to work out different muscles.

 

Intermediate

 

How many times a week do spend time in the gym?

How are you recognizing and celebrating someone else’s progress in growing stronger?

Do you have a workout buddy or friend to keep you accountable?

Do you actively pursue helping others meet their goals?

How are you investing into helping others create a strength building lifestyle?

 

Advanced

 

I’ll let you know when I make it there…

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