Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
As you probably know, one of the key principles of physical fitness is to strengthen your “core.” Our core muscles include those in the trunk of our body – stomach, back, and sides. Most of our body movements are directly or indirectly guided by our core muscles. Strengthening our core muscles not only assists in physical activities, such as running or skiing; strong core muscles lead to better balance and stability, help maintain good posture by stabilizing our spine, and alleviate back pain. A healthy core leads to a healthy lifestyle.
What is true physically is also true spiritually; our spiritual health will be largely determined by how we develop our “core spiritual muscles.” These are the spiritual disciplines that nurture our relationship with God and cultivate the character of Christ within us. Strengthening this “core” will help us grow into mature followers of Jesus.
How do we strengthen our spiritual core? It begins by recognizing where are strength comes from. Ps. 46:1 states, “God is our refuge and strength.” While there are certain spiritual disciplines we can undertake to strengthen our walk with the Lord, ultimately this strength comes from God. So, this is not simply a kind of “self-help” program. Yet it is also true that God strengthens us as we grow in these areas.
What would be our “core spiritual muscles?” It’s nothing esoteric or sophisticated. These would include personal study of Scripture, time with God in prayer, authentic worship, and participating in a Home Group. These basic disciplines help lay a solid foundation for our faith and really for all of life. As we engage in these regularly, our knowledge of God will deepen, our awareness of His presence will grow, and our confidence in His love will increase as will our love for God. Furthermore, we will be better equipped to serve the Lord and accomplish His will for our lives.
I have devoted my preaching this first month of 2022 to covering some of these disciplines for spiritual growth and strength. You may recall that the first message of this year (Jan. 2nd) was on organizing our time so we can do the things that help nurture our relationship with God and lead to greater obedience to God. I want to encourage all of us once again to do this, so we can experience the fullness of life Jesus offers us.
Grace and peace,