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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.
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!
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.
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:
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.
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…
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.
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.
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”.
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!
Becoming Spiritually Fit on the Training Ground of the Bible
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.
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.
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.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 says:
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.