Spiritual Bench Press

Huff ‘n puff ‘n huff ‘n puff . No, it isn’t the big bad wolf at Piglet’s door. It’s me out on a walk making my way up the hill. My workouts these days are a cinch compared to the grueling physical exercise I had in Marine Corps boot camp, but without a drill instructor yelling in my face, it’s hard to motivate myself to get out there and do it. I just don’t like to exercise; however, I know if I don’t, my muscles will lose their strength and ability to do what God designed them to do. To build and keep muscle I must continually work my muscles.

Spiritual growth works the same way. If I expect faith to grow, then I must exercise my faith. But how? Thirty minutes on the elliptical machine will exercise my body, but not my spirit. What does a spiritual workout look like? For Jesus, it meant wielding the Word of God. Matthew 4:1-11 shows us. Jesus has fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, and the devil came to tempt Him. Three times the devil tempted Jesus, and three times Jesus said “It is written” and quoted a verse from God’s Word.

When trouble comes, we need spiritual muscle for the battle. If we haven’t spent time exercising, our muscle may fail us. Take every opportunity to give your spiritual muscles a workout. Speak God’s Word every day. Memorize and mediate on the Scripture. When think you can’t bear another day at a job you hate, proclaim “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, NKJV). If your child is sick, pray “Lord, heal my child for you heal all our diseases” (See Psalm 103:3). Do you wonder whether you can pay the bills this month, say with confidence “God shall provide all my needs” (Philippians 4:19, NKJV).

No matter what we face, we can confidently declare what God’s Word has to say and “experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand” (Philippians 4:7, NLT). Our weapons “are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. … and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5, NIV).

The opportunity to exercise our spiritual muscles comes every time a negative thought or circumstance knocks at the door. We have two choices: to trust God and use the Word to grow our faith; or to let the negative thoughts and feelings take control. I’m going to trust God; I hope you will too. In the meantime, I’m going to exercise.

“My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises!” (Psalm 57:7, NLT).

For a topical book of verses you can use to exercise your faith, read Joyce Meyer's The Secret Power of Speaking God's Word available on Amazon.

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

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