Inside Strong

“That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man.”—Ephesians 3:16 (NKJV)
 
Physical fitness isn’t a fad; it’s embedded in American culture. Social media is full of personal fitness trainers and strength coaches touting their success at helping people. Selfies of fitness freaks fill Instagram and Facebook, only outdone by photos of cats and dogs.
 
Bootcamps, Cross Fit, even Pilates and yoga all emphasize the importance of strengthening your core—the midsection of your body. The benefits of physical fitness are many, including mental and emotional health and stress relief. But what about spiritual fitness? Physical fitness is good for our bodies, but it doesn’t help with what’s on the inside.
 
As Christian believers, we ought to know this is far more important than our physical appearance and fitness. But even if we know it, what are we doing to strengthen our spiritual inner core?
 
Every good fitness program starts with simple warm-up stretches and exercises before the hardcore workout. This is also true for gaining spiritual strength for our inner person. Two verses before today’s Scripture, Paul writes, “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 3:14 NKJV).
 
This is critical. Just as Paul did, we need to submit and surrender our lives in a fresh, new commitment each day. This is a priority for inner spiritual strength!
 
I love sports, especially baseball. (Go Dodgers! Go Rays!) As a pastor, I often played on church slow-pitch softball teams. Because my life was busy, I often jumped right into playing without warming up, and I suffered for it. If I didn’t throw my back out, I’d probably strain my arm throwing the ball!
 
I believe this lack of “warming up” is one reason many believers are not spiritually strong in their inner cores. We tend to focus on what we’re doing. Things like serving, fellowship, and worship. And while these practices are all good and necessary for spiritual growth, they’re not where our spiritual strength comes from.
 
It’s God who “grants” this inner spiritual strength to us. He graciously gives it so we’re “strengthened with might through His Spirit.” We don’t manufacture or develop it. This doesn’t mean we should be passive, but rather intentional. You see, as we receive His Word with an open heart and ask in prayer to be filled, the Holy Spirit works in us and indeed fills us with His strength in a fresh way each day. Then we can experience true spiritual strength in our inner core—our soul and spirit.
 
DIG: Do you make time each day to still your heart and mind before God, and surrender your life and heart to Him?
 
DISCOVER: Are you more self-reliant or God-dependent? When did you last ask God in prayer to fill you with His Spirit and strength?
 
DISPLAY: For strengthening your inner spiritual core, develop a daily discipline to still your heart, surrender your life, and ask God to fill you with the strength of His Spirit.