Spiritual Strength — How Do You Get It?
For the past couple of days I have been trying to get in better shape. I have been watching what kind of foods that I am eating, getting up early to work out, and overall just trying to make better decisions that affect my health. It has not been perfect, but changing your lifestyle is not easy and takes time. Through this (very brief) journey, I have also started to think about my spiritual health. One of the questions that I have been asking myself is “why is it easier for me to care about my physical health and make plans to change that, then it is to care about my spiritual health?”
It’s not that there is a lack of step-by-step plans to get in better spiritual shape, in fact, there might be too many. Open up your bible app and you will be greeted by a wave of devotionals made just for you or for your current season of life. It can be overwhelming, just like when we are trying to find the right diet plan or workout routine that will yield us the best results. When it comes to staying spiritually healthy, there are a lot of us that compare it to being physically healthy. To be physically healthy we need to exercise and digest good things while avoiding the bad — makes sense that we would do the same in a spiritual sense to be spiritually healthy. But what if it’s not the same? What if to be spiritually healthy we don’t need plans or diets?
To be spiritually healthy definitely requires discipline and a change of lifestyle. It requires a vigilant eye on the things that we ingest, but instead of food it’s over things like music, movies, and other external influences. In these ways, being spiritually healthy looks similar to staying physically healthy. But where physical health depends on what we can do, spiritual health depends on what God has already done. This, I believe, is the biggest difference and why we can’t look at being spiritually healthy the same way we look at being physically healthy (at least not completely).
In Ephesians 3:14-21, Paul gives insight on how to become spiritually strong. The key is not a devotional plan or routine. It’s much simpler than that. The answer can be found in verses 14-16:
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being.
The center of attention can’t be on ourselves and what we can do. It doesn’t matter how many hours you put in, how early you get up, or how vigilant you are. Those things are important and we should choose to live that way, but to receive strength in our spirit is to humble ourselves before God. That’s it. We need to recognize that power comes from Him and that He chooses to strengthen whom He chooses. Your spiritual health is not dependent on how strict you are with your routine. It’s dependent on your closeness to the Father — on your relationship with Him. This is why I think that it can be harder to receive spiritual strength. It’s easier to look up a plan and try to mindlessly follow it. It’s easier to just click on your devotional for the day and check the box. What gives us spiritual strength is simply humility. To admit to ourselves that God gives us strength when we are weak, when we don’t deserve it, and when we ask Him for it.
In our cultural atmosphere today it’s all about getting what we deserve and about earning our right. It’s hard to accept God’s truth because He is all about giving us what we don’t deserve. The laws of physics say that with any action there is an equal or opposite reaction. That’s not always the case with God. When we think we couldn’t get any lower, God raises us up. It’s not about achieving or getting it for yourself. It’s about learning to humble yourself and recognize who God is.
Jose and his wife did their DTS in September of 2015 and have been a part of our family ever since! We actually met them before them on Summer trips to Nicaragua. Jose’s passion for excellence and worshipping God with his whole being challenge our whole community.