What is Spiritual Maturity for the Christian? – Being Spiritually Fit in 2022

Please note that this article may contain affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. You can read more at the bottom of this page or read my full disclosure on my Affiliate Disclosure Page

As a follower of Jesus, do you desire more spiritual maturity? 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” had become a mantra in society, at least pre-COVID.

But what spiritual matters? What about working out our spirit? Do you exercise your faith to build spiritual muscles not just your physical ones? Is your spiritual life as “active” as your physical one?

In this post, we will learn how to be spiritually fit in 2022 and work those spiritual muscles, those spiritual disciplines, that can help you grow deeper in your walk with God! 

Read on to learn how to start on the road to becoming a mature Christian.

ir?source=bk&t=live31 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=99510ddc3490071ad48cac623d58bc5f& cb=1542819001725

Updated and republished from 7/28/20

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! 

An Image of a darker skinned woman holding two dumbbells up in her hands and she is smiling while facing the camera and a text overlay that says Become Spiritually Fit - Exercise Your Faith For Building Spiritual Maturity

But I also taught women’s self-defense classes and worked with women who had suffered physical abuse.ir?source=bk&t=live31 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=76f1da8789e48558806cf1b0aad68acf& cb=1542819398939

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.ir?source=bk&t=live31 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=e8e5c9dcf11eb252340163ded4ff2a2f& cb=1542819453710ir?source=bk&t=live31 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=8ef238be0253d61ad59f7dc97d4ec371& cb=1542819064570

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.

The Mature Person Has What Resembles Muscle Memory

The very reason my body was able to react that way was, 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.”

TLV

Mature believers work their senses in different ways “through practice” 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 yourself in your spiritual development much like this as well!

When the “attacker” comes (and he will) you will know immediately know how to respond, with the Word of righteousness and the true knowledge of God and His armor guiding you!

You can train yourself to be spiritually fit much like you can train your body! #spiritualmaturity Click To Tweet

Exercise Your Spiritual Muscles

When we do Bible study and pray, we work out our faith and exercise our senses in the knowledge of God, increasing our spiritual muscles so that when trouble comes or a need arises, the mature individual knows what to do. 

We can quickly recall verses from the Word of God about that very thing we are struggling with at that moment. The Holy Spirit will often guide us through the scripture we have read.

We can recall Bible studies or a sermon about that topic. We can recall Bible knowledge we have about it. This all leads us to greater spiritual maturity and a deeper walk with the Lord.ir?source=bk&t=live31 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=b2cdb2797f3acd2b9805810a2b0fa1c1& cb=1542819106676

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 to be spiritually fit 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 Spiritual Muscles

I quoted Hebrews 5:14 previously, but let’s look at it again along with the preceding verse.

Hebrews 5:13-14:

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. This training is an ongoing process. It is not one and done!

It is a constant renewing of your mind so you are not blown about by every wind of doctrine (oh and there are lots of winds)!

Keep in mind, it says “by constant use”! That constant use creates that spiritual fitness!

Becoming Spiritually Fit 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.

Spiritual immaturity is the result of not being acquainted with the teachings about righteousness. Click To Tweet

As a new believer, you are like that white belt! You are starting off their walk with God as a blank canvas, ready to learn the ways of God.ir?source=bk&t=live31 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=6b3c918c97b107fe7cb3a2f80bd459ae& cb=1542819188086

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 exercise your faith, you cannot progress to that “solid food” or that spiritual maturity the Word speaks of. You cannot become spiritually fit just on “milk”.

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 their Heavenly Father 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!

ir?source=bk&t=live31 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=e66c7c0b92898c015173f1e05d99824b& cb=1542819222759

Becoming Spiritually Fit on 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 build spiritual muscles and spiritual maturity 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.

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! Click To Tweet

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! THAT is the sign of true spiritual maturity and of being spiritually fit!

We need to memorize verses the same way I had to memorize techniques so that you can recall them at any moment when needed.

Building spiritual muscles involve learning to walk in obedience to God, but if we don’t know His Word, if we have not hidden it in our hearts then how can we do that effectively?

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! It is that process of spiritual growth that produces the marks of spiritual maturity and produces spiritual fruit in you.

An image of a beautiful black woman and her daughter sitting on a couch with notebooks like they are writing or studying and text that says Bible Study Methods - Learn to Study the Word for Yourself - 7 Ways in 7 Days, advertising a Bible Study course

Run Your Race Toward Spiritual Maturity

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.ir?source=bk&t=live31 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=4584f6ff381dab4388a2c6d8295eaf61& cb=1542819285072

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; spiritual maturity and a closer walk with the Lord! 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, child of God, work out those spiritual muscles and allow God’s 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.

81 Comments

  1. I LOVE this allegory. I’ve been so encouraged to “train” and “build my muscle memory” when it comes to spiritual disciplines. Thanks for taking the time to write and share this post. Bless you!

  2. There is so much goodness in this post!! I know that there were many years in my past that I did not do my spiritual work outs. During that time in my life it did not go so well for me. It is so vital in our walk with Christ that we are strengthening in spirit. The enemy is no fun to wrestle with when you are weak…..when we are healthy and strengthing daily then we can stop the enemy before the wrestling match even begins!!

  3. I love this post, Diane. I love how you related something so practical to a spiritual discipline. I am sharing on Pinterest!

  4. I wholeheartedly agree. We need to train our faith muscles! Thanks for sharing and hosting. Blessings to you!

  5. Such a great post and reminder! I want to get back into a regular routine. But you know…now I want to train my faith muscles too. Good good stuff! Blessed to be your neighbor at Tell His Story this week!

  6. This is both challenging and encouraging for me to think about and remember the importance of knowing God’s Word so deeply that I can trust it will come to mind exactly when I need it!

  7. Yes, we need to make a commitment to work toward spiritual maturity as believers. Salvation alone is amazing, but it is not enough for us to just attend church whenever and stay immature. We must be in the word, in prayer and growing stronger, giving an account of our faith to the lost world, furthering the Kingdom of God.

  8. As my son has recently started Karate, and has his first test tomorrow, this makes a lot of sense! I love the comparison. Spiritual maturity takes practice, with all of the spiritual disciplines.

  9. Ironically, as we flex our muscles of independence, failing to rely on the armor of God, we become spiritually “flabby” and weak!

  10. First off – I had no idea that you used to practice mixed martial arts! Whoa! I learn something new everyday! Second, I love this post for so many reasons. Hubby and I were just talking about how we need to plan action steps to grow in our faith. Perfect timing! Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.