Is there such a thing as spiritual strength? We know about physical strength, and we’re pretty clear about emotional strength…but what about spiritual strength? What is it and why do we care?
Think about athletes
My daughter is an athlete.
When her sport is in season, she spends her time on team practice, position practice, strength training, team building, games, drills, tournaments – and a continuous focus on keeping her body and mind healthy so she can do all of those things to the best of her ability.
Even in the off season, her sport isn’t far from her mind. She practices in the driveway or back yard, watches training videos put out by coaches or athletes on YouTube – and maintains focus on keeping her body and mind healthy.
When she misses one day of exercise, the next day tends to be harder. When she eats junk food one day, the next day it’s more difficult to choose healthy snacks.
Not long ago her coach had her team attend a seminar by a sports nutritionist. The woman said something interesting. She said that the food you eat determines the kinds of materials your body has to work with when it’s building muscles. Furthermore, when you skip meals, you are actually denying your body of the things it needs to make you strong.
Consider a bricklayer
Imagine a bricklayer building a wall. The materials he uses to create his bricks determines the quality of the bricks he can build with. If he uses weak materials, his bricks will naturally come out weak. If he procures materials frequently throughout the day, he can keep up a steady pace of making bricks and laying them down to build a strong wall.
If the bricklayer stops making or building for any length of time, bricks on his wall are weakened and removed. If he doesn’t find materials to build with, then the bricklayer can’t build or lay bricks, and bricks are removed from the wall faster than he can keep up with.
In the same way, our spiritual strength can wear away if we don’t keep it fed, or if we don’t feed it the right things.
Have you had moments in your life where you wonder why you don’t feel close to God? Have you thought He had moved far from you or He had abandoned you? Have you ever decided you didn’t need to focus on your spiritual strength because, after all, you’d done that before and now you’re good to go?
What if our spiritual strength needs to be fed and built up just like our physical strength?
What if the reason you’re having a hard time connecting with God is because you’ve deprived yourself of the very things you need to lay a strong spiritual wall?
When my daughter is preparing for her sports season, she doesn’t assume that because she was a top player last year, she will automatically be a top player this year – especially if she watched tv and ate chips all summer. No, she realizes that strength building, conditioning, working, learning, and growing is something that she needs to do always.
If we’re feeling stagnant in our faith, we need to take a close look at how we’re spiritually strength training.
Are we reading the Bible? How about a daily devotional? Are we spending time with other believers, hearing about their experiences and being held accountable in ours? Are we going to church? Are we worshipping? Do we pray? How often and about what?
Believing in God doesn’t require a checklist of things you have to do – after all, my daughter can still call herself an athlete if she rides the bench all season and never steps foot on the court.
“10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”
1 Corinthians 3:10-15 NIV
To be in top spiritual shape, we can’t spend all of our time watching tv and eating chips. We can’t give our spiritual selves weak materials to work with.
A friend of mine once said that she had read the Bible cover to cover a number of times, and each time she learned something new. Each time she understood something better. Each time God revealed something she had never realized before.
If you want to know what it takes to build your spiritual strength, look to the creator of our spiritual selves. Study scripture. Join a Bible study. Listen to biblical teachers. Start a daily devotion. Don’t assume you know all there is to know because you can’t think of any other questions to ask.
If my daughter goes out on the court but completely ignores her teammates or coach, there’s only so much progress she’s going to make as a player. In the same way, we need to stay in constant communication with God if we want to grow in our spiritual strength. So, talk to Him. Any time and all the time, about big and small things. Then, listen to what He has to say in return.
Build and grow
If we’re not constantly trying to grow, we’re choosing to stay the way we are. If we’re not consciously building spiritual bricks, we’re giving our walls permission to fall.
More than almost anything else, we need to build up or spiritual strength. If we want to have any hope of making it through the fires of this life, we need to be people that take our faith seriously, not people that take it for granted.
Sandra Samoska is a writer with a love for Jesus and a love for family. When she's not chasing around her four kids and doing all the things, you can find her writing about the ways God shows up in our every day lives.