How Do We Build Spiritual Core Strength?

Blog Post

We’re all creatures of habit, and regardless of the setting, we tend to gravitate towards the same seats. Although I didn’t know Carlos well, he always occupied the chair next to mine during our morning meetings. Hence, I couldn’t help but notice when he seemed to be experiencing back problems; he got up tenderly and appeared off balance when walking. Although he’s not my patient, I suggested he see a physician. Unfortunately, the nurse practitioner he visited ordered an MRI, which showed nothing wrong, and prescribed muscle relaxers – not the ideal treatment for someone in early recovery.

Since minding my own business isn’t exactly one of my superpowers, and Carlos’s constant squirming was distracting, I suggested he consider physical therapy for core strengthening. The muscles and ligaments of our lower back and abdominal wall form our “core” and are essential for almost all physical activities. Individuals with a weak core often experience pain, may need assistance to stand, and generally lack stability. Reflecting on this, I realized it paralleled the experiences of nearly everyone I’ve encountered in addiction recovery treatment. Emotionally and especially spiritually, they often lack core strength.

In Ephesians 6:14, Paul instructs us to “buckle the belt of truth around our waist and cover our hearts with the breastplate of righteousness.” The belt symbolizes the good news of Jesus’ resurrection, bridging the gap between our sinful lives and the grace-filled embrace of our Heavenly Father. Just as the belt supports our abdominal muscles and lower back, the breastplate protects our heart, which Paul identifies as the seat of our emotions. Our hearts are vulnerable to the influences of everyday life and must be safeguarded from ungodly influences.

Without these spiritual safeguards, we experience core weakness, leading to various pains, excessive reliance on others, and difficulty standing when life knocks us down. We become spiritually unsteady. However, embracing the truth provides the core strength necessary to endure and thrive despite life’s challenges.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Pleased with this realization, I shared it with Carlos and recommended that he strengthen his spiritual core through daily prayer and study of God’s Word. He agreed to this challenge, on the condition that I commit to daily physical core exercises, which he endured at the hands of what seemed to be a rather harsh physical therapist. I hope he’s sticking to his commitment, as I’m not particularly fond of these planks and leg lifts. While Jesus instructed us to go to the ends of the earth, He never mentioned these potentially Satan-derived planks. Nonetheless, I suppose I’ll benefit from a stronger physical core too!

At The Dunamis Initiative, we’re equipped to assist groups of any size in developing emotional and spiritual core strength. If your church could benefit from a robust (yet simple to initiate and manage) recovery ministry, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d be delighted to help!

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