How to develop a stronger spiritual core

Saturday morning when I woke up, the Lord told me to go into my prayer room and not pray in bed like I usually do. As soon as my knees hit the floor in the prayer room, the messages came fast and furious. The first thing He wanted me to focus on was my core. He said that strengthening our spiritual core was essential. It is a lot more important than we think. I then meditated on that message and I let the Holy Spirit guide me through the deeper meaning of what He was telling me. I saw myself working out and getting my core stronger. That image was very helpful. I used to work with a personal trainer and his goal was to help me get a strong core. He would have me do the plank. The first time I did it, I thought I was going to pass out after a few seconds. He said that people can stay in that position for minutes. That seemed impossible to me. However, after months of diligent and consistent work, I was able to do the plank and maintain it for a few minutes. As a matter of fact, doing the plank became easy. I wasn’t short of breath as quickly and I could feel how much stronger my core was. The Spirit explained that life often stretches us and we find ourselves in a plank situation where we have to be strong. If our core is not strong, we will fall. I understood what He was getting at and I opened myself up to finding out how to get a stronger spiritual core. We can’t do it by ourselves. We need a coach to motivate us otherwise we can get discouraged. Even the people who think they have managed to a get a strong spiritual core on their own had some help. We can’t grow spiritually without the Holy Spirit.

 

What does it take to get a stronger spiritual core? First, we must recognize that the Lord is at the core of this process. He is the core we are trying to strengthen. It doesn’t mean that He needs to become stronger. It just means that our connection with Him has to grow. He is the core and we should rely on the core to live a good spiritual life. Jesus illustrated this idea beautifully when He said that He was the vine and we were the branches. The vine is at the core of the plant so to speak. It is the stem. Jesus is the stem. The branches depend on Him. We depend on Him. Jesus explained that if we remain in Him and He remains in us, we would bear much fruit. Bearing fruit is a major goal of anyone who wants to grow spiritually. We can see people’s effective spiritual lives when they bear fruit. Bearing fruit is a demonstration of the intimate relationship we have with God. When He is our everything, everything blooms. What we do prospers. What we think lines up with His mind. What we say echoes His heart. Staying in the Lord is how we can develop our core. Putting Him at the center of everything we do and making sure He is our priority will allow us to have a strong foundation. When life events try to destabilize us and to disrupt our plank, Jesus in us will keep us strong and we won’t fall.

 

Once we have the Lord as our priority, we ought to follow Him and let Him fill us up. I love the concept of being filled up with the Lord. We are vessels of God and we shouldn’t remain empty vessels. We should avoid getting filled with the world. God can’t use vessels that worship the world. He is looking for people who will die to self and give Him full access. He wants to dwell in us and stay with us in ways that surpass all understanding. The more space you give Him, the stronger you will get in Him. In order to strengthen your core, you must give the Lord as much space and time as you can. Prayer is one of those muscles that when exercised a lot, become a strong place of refuge. I go to my prayer room more and more and spend time in prayer as long as I can. That means watching fewer tv shows. That means giving up a few activities that get in the way. I am not saying you should do the same thing but it is a good idea to look at your life and see what gets in the way of prayer. Whatever it is has to diminish and prayer has to increase. That is the best way to develop your spiritual core. Work on the muscles of praise, worship and gratitude as well. During my morning session on Saturday, the Lord encouraged me to go back to having praise and worship sessions detached from my prayer time. It’s great to have both but we can just have praise sessions and worship the Lord as well. Praise and worship are the two habits that have made my spiritual core grow the most through the years. If you don’t have those habits yet, I recommend that you make them your own. Keep Jesus at the center. Pray, praise, worship and be thankful. Spend time in the Word of God and last but not least, continue to walk in love. Love is the power behind it all. Without love, your core will get weak again. Happy core training!

Suggested reading: John 15:5; Colossians 1:10; 2 Peter 3:18

Faith muscles

Sometimes we pray and pray and nothing seems to happen. We praise and worship, we keep our confession positive, we try to focus on things from above but we are left with unanswered prayers. The Bible invites us to look at our circumstances through the eyes of faith. In Mark 11:24,we are told that “whatever we ask in prayer, we should believe we have received it.” It takes faith to believe we have received it and faith makes us look at things through God’s lense. The bills are piling up but through the eyes of faith you see yourself debt-free. The kids keeping getting sick but through the eyes of faith you see healthy and happy kids. Now I like to look at faith as a muscle. The more you exercise it, the more it will grow. I see nice gains every time I go to the gym and now I want to see more gains with my faith. How can we build up faith muscles? Every challenge you encounter is an opportunity to make your faith stronger. God is not punishing you. He wants you to stand strong and grow. Prayers might take a while to be answered but just stand. Stand and stand. Don’t give up! You are building amazing muscles. Start looking at these trials as faith muscle builders. The bigger the problem, the more you stay strong and the closer you are to look like a faith body builder. I also suggest making an inventory of what is happening in your life while you are waiting for an answer. Sometimes we are more blessed than we can see but we are blinded by our problems. Celebrate small victories. Turn to people that have huge muscles, so to speak. They will spot you when you can’t hold up those weights. God does answer prayers. The waiting process can be very challenging but it will be in your best interest in the end. You’re making gains!Suggested reading: Matthew 19:26; John 14:13; Acts 3:16; 3 John 2:4