This page/post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. This is true of any other affiliate links within this post. For more detailed information, please visit our Affiliate Disclaimer page
Do you desire more spiritual maturity? In this post, we will learn how to begin building faith and how working those spiritual muscles can help you grow deeper in your walk with God!
There is such a focus all over social media on physical workouts! There are health and fitness coaches that you can access instantly online! “I’m going to the gym” has become a mantra in society, at least it was before the shutdown!
But what about working out our spirit? Do you work out your faith to build spiritual muscles as well as physical ones?
My Self Defense Training
You might be surprised to learn I was a martial artist!
I used to co-own a martial arts facility where I trained in Tae Kwon Do, Jeet Kune Do and Israeli hand to hand combat and knife fighting.
In fact, I not only trained in the Israeli martial arts, but I also taught it.
I was training these big guys, including some high-ranking officers (one of whom went on to be an Admiral), from the Naval Submarine Base near the location I had!
But I also taught women’s self-defense classes and worked with women who had suffered physical abuse.
I loved Israeli martial arts but it has been a long time since I practiced. It’s been a VERY long time; about 14 years now.
Recently I was talking to my husband about when I taught those classes and decided to see how much I could quickly recall if I was physically threatened.
So, I had him come at me in a mock attack and, sure enough, my training kicked in and I was able to easily and readily recall the techniques I had learned to use and teach.
My mind may not have been able to recall what each step was when I sat and thought about it, but my body certainly remembered.
Spiritual Maturity and Muscle Memory
My body was able to react that way, in part, due to procedural memory, often associated with muscle memory.
Even though it had been a long time since I practiced, my muscles knew what to do with my body as the “attacker” came at me.
I didn’t even have to think about it. There was no hesitation in my actions. My body took over and did what it needed to do.
Hebrews 5:14 says:
“But solid food is for the mature, who through practice have their senses trained to discern both good and evil.” NASB
Exercising your senses “through practice” is similar to an athlete’s muscles developing memory.
When you work the same muscles over and over again, those muscles gain memory and adjust to the exercise or actions required of them. As you train, your body develops procedural memory and recalls steps in the process.
You can train your spirit as well as your body!
Exercise Your Spiritual Muscles
We can quickly recall Bible verses about that very thing we are struggling with at that moment.
When the enemy attacks us, much like a physical attacker for someone trained in martial arts, we can immediately counter the attack and send him running! Work out your faith for spiritual maturity so you can…
“…submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 TLV
The Greek word for ‘resist’ is “anthistēmi”, which means to stand against, oppose, to set oneself against, much the same as someone would stand against a physical attack.
Grow in Spiritual Maturity
I quoted Hebrews 5:14 previously, but let’s look at it again along with the preceding verse.
“For anyone living on milk is inexperienced with the teaching about righteousness—he is an infant.
But solid food is for the mature, who through practice have their senses trained to discern both good and evil.” TLV
Spiritual immaturity is the result of not being acquainted with the teachings about righteousness. It is a lack of training per se.
Keep in mind, it says “by constant use”!
Building Spiritual Muscles From a Blank Canvas
When a student starts off in martial arts, they start as a white belt. White represents purity and innocence. In other words, the student is a blank canvas.
New believers are the same! They are starting off their walk with God as a blank canvas, ready to learn the ways of the Kingdom of God.
But if a martial arts student doesn’t come to class, if a student doesn’t practice their forms continuously, they will remain a white belt.
Build Spiritual Maturity by Getting in the Word
When a believer doesn’t get in the Word and study it, if they don’t attend church or synagogue (if you are a Messianic Jew) to receive fellowship and instruction, if they don’t pray, they will remain a babe on milk, a white belt if you will.
If you don’t continue to work out your faith, you cannot progress to that “solid food” or that spiritual maturity the Word speaks of.
If a believer is attacked and has not developed that spiritual maturity, they don’t have the “training” to call on to defeat their enemy.
When they go through struggles, they don’t have the “training” to know how to lean on God and trust Him during those times, to recall what His Word says about the situation. They may not know how to pray for His help and His guidance. They may not even know that they can!
Work Out Your Faith in the Training Ground of the Bible
The Bible is your training ground! It is your teacher! It is your help in times of trouble!
God speaks to you through those pages and gives you help in times of need! You work out your faith in the Word!
The Bible shows you who God is! It tells us what he expects from us and what he promises to us. It tells us how to live our lives and how to relate to others.
It is your instruction manual!
Practice Building Spiritual Muscles!
When I was training in martial arts, I had to practice and practice and practice. And when I was done practicing, I had to practice some more! I had to keep doing this until my body knew what to do without me even thinking about it.
We need to get in the Word and stay in the Word until we know how to live our lives for Him and how to respond to situations in life!
We need to memorize verses the same way I had to memorize techniques so that you can recall them at any moment when needed.
You need to stay in prayer and ask God for help when needed, the same way I had to have an instructor physically show me how to position myself and do the required steps to defeat my “enemy”.
God can “position” you through prayer and His Word! When you turn things over to Him, He will place you right where He wants you to be for that time, that situation, that temptation, that season, when we cast our cares on Him!
Create a War Binder
One way to help you stay in prayer AND document the amazing things God is doing in your life and how He is answering prayer is with a War binder!
A War Binder is a faith journal, or prayer journal with multiple sections that you use to document your walk with God. It’s like having an entire war room in one convenient place that you can have with you anywhere!
Keeping a prayer journal like that has helped me look back and see all the ways God has moved in my life and it has strengthened my prayer muscles so much more!
Work Out Your Faith and Run Your Race
I know it may seem silly to compare our walk with God to training in martial arts, or any other sport for that matter. But remember, Paul did that as well.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 says:
“Don’t you know that in a stadium the runners all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win!
Every competitor exercises self-control in all respects. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we do it to receive an imperishable one.
So I run in this way—not aimlessly. So I box in this way—not beating the air.
Rather, I punish my body and bring it into submission, so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” TLV
Run in such a way as to receive the crown that lasts forever! But make no mistake, it does not come without hard work. Paul mentions here “strict training” for that crown!
“Every competitor exercises self-control in all respects. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we do it to receive an imperishable one.“
So work out those spiritual muscles and allow the Word to be your training ground!
Tree of Life (TLV) – Scripture taken from the Holy Scriptures, Tree of Life Version*. Copyright © 2014,2016 by the Tree of Life Bible Society. Used by permission of the Tree of Life Bible Society.