I am honored to introduce you to my friend, Amy. When she shared this principle with me, I asked her to share it for Red Chair Moments. Enjoy! ~April
Exercising Our Spiritual Muscles
by Amy Ahrens
Later that week, I facilitated the Experiencing God, Bible study by Henry Blackaby. The class discussion for the week focused on the difference between being self-centered and God-centered. One of the women raised a great question, “Now, that I’m aware that I’ve been more self-centered, how do I change to be more God-centered?”
I responded, “Just as my upper arms were not toned overnight, in a similar way, becoming more God-centered is not going to happen overnight. Once you become initially aware, ask God to help you become more aware of the Holy Spirit’s voice in your day-to-day life. Ask for the courage to listen and obey. As you begin to “exercise” this muscle of listening and obeying, the more strengthened and toned this muscle becomes.”
However, the more we ignore and disobey God’s Spirit, the harder our hearts become to hear His voice. It’s like each time we put
Take baby steps. Start exercising your spiritual muscles by obeying in the non-tense situations. This could be when you feel the Spirit nudging you to reach out to someone who is hurting or by praying if God wants you to fast. Fasting is a spiritual discipline like communion, prayer, and reading your Bible. It is the act of denying yourself of particular foods, drinks, or a meal, or activity (such as TV or social media). When you deny yourself, and feel that craving for whatever you are sacrificing, reach out in prayer. Cry out to God in a hunger for Him. It makes you more aware of what He is doing in your life. By fasting, your prayers will be more fervent, and it exercises that spiritual muscle of becoming more God-centered.
Sometimes God calls us to fast when He knows we are about to encounter a trial. It strengthens us as we shut out the noises of the world and connect to the Vine (John 15:5) When we remain in Him, we produce His fruit (Gal 5:22-23) in every area of our lives. Trials would be those “tense” times, and after strengthening those muscles, then we are more likely to be “toned” and to act in God-centered ways in the midst of the hard times.
The more we obey and experience God at work, the more we trust Him. We see in the Bible how God works in unexpected ways, and as we see Him working in our lives. We also see that He answers in unexpected ways. Trusting in God’s promises when we can’t see His hand will tone our spiritual muscles.