I think it’s safe to say that at one point or another every man in existence since the invention of the mirror has spent plenty of time in front of it, flexing and admiring his physical muscles. Admiring how “manly” he looks…. Maybe even admiring how much chest or armpit hair he has while thinking to himself “created in God’s own image indeed”. (or maybe that was just me) I’d be lying if I said I never did that through my teenage years… or maybe even a little since then.
Building physical muscle takes dedication, time, effort, pain, and maybe a little help from Richard Simmons. You don’t, cant, and won’t get stronger without going through that process. No pain, no gain right? The harder you work, and more you sacrifice, the better the payoff. In working out there are tools that can help us. Weights of course provide the resistance needed to break our muscles down. The water, Gatorade, or nutrient drinks provide the replenishment our bodies require to rebuild stronger muscles. The neon leggings provide…. well they don’t really provide anything and pretty much just make us look weirdoes. One thing for sure though is that when it comes to working out, the hardest part is always getting started. However, once the ball gets rolling and we’re in the habit it becomes easier and yes, dare I say the word “enjoyable”! However, the second we stop working out, and putting in the work, our body begins to manifest the signs of it also. Muscles become less defined. Our endurance and confidence in our physical strength begins to decrease. My point with all this is to see and receive the reward or physical strength, it takes constant and consistent effort on our part… my other point is that neon leggings aren’t awesome anymore…. If they ever were in the first place.
Let’s put a twist on this now. How many of us (both men and women) have stepped back in front of the same mirror to flex and admire our Spiritual muscles? I’m guessing not as many of us. The ironic thing is it’s our spiritual strength more than physical strength that will enlighten our lives and the lives of others. It’s our spiritual strength that we will carry throughout eternity and bring us the blessings that give us the greatest joy. It’s our spiritual strength that truly matters both now and in the future to our father in heaven. In short, it doesn’t matter how much you can bench press, how much you can curl or how many miles you can run… if you are spiritually weak you are missing out on a whole new world of opportunities and blessings that will enrich your lives and the lives of others and likely even effect generations of people! So how do we get our “spiritual workout” on?
Much like building physical muscle, building spiritual muscle takes dedication, time, effort and pain also. The pain needed to build spiritual strength however is often in the form of trails, struggles, disappointments or heartaches. It takes that pain to build us, teach us, and forge us into the men, women, husbands, fathers, wives, sons, and daughters that we are capable of being and that our Father in Heaven would like us to be. We don’t, cant, and won’t become spiritually stronger without that process either! Again, no pain no gain! It’s surprising how similar building the two types of strength really are! Just like the tools in the form of weights, electrolytes, nutrients and questionably the neon leggings used to help us build our physical strength there are tools to build our spiritual strength also. The Book of Mormon, bearing our testimony, Prayer, fasting and service to others are all tools that can help. Best of all, for building our Spiritual strength we don’t need help from Richard Simmons… we receive help from Jesus Christ!
The similarities don’t stop there though. Just like the regimen required to maintain and increase physical strength, we also require a regimen to maintain and increase our spiritual strength. The second we stop working out spiritually and putting in the work, our spiritual strength begins to manifest the signs also. Our relationship with the Lord weakens, it becomes harder to feel the spirit and feel promptings. Our desire to offer sincere prayer decreases as does our desire to do right and help other do the same. It takes constant and consistent effort to maintain peak spiritual shape also.
So, if we want to admire how awesome our “Spiritual 6 pack” is, or how “ripped our spiritual guns are” or how much we can “spiritually bench press” we’re going to need to know how to work up a spiritual sweat. (Is that even a term?) How do we build our Spiritual strength? Although replacing iron weights with stacks of Books of Mormons would physically weight about the same, that’s not the idea we’re going for. It’s simple. The primary answers. Read the scriptures, attend Church, and the Temple if worthy (and if you’re not worthy work to become worthy). Provide service to those in need, look to share your time and talents with others. Bear your testimony when given the opportunity. Lift and inspire others, be a good example, be honest, pray, have faith, and be happy! There are lots of ways that we can build our spiritual strength and they don’t even require a gym membership. I can also attest that the hardest part of working out spiritually is getting started. Getting in the habit of daily scripture study, service, the sharing of energies, times or talents is harder at first, but I can promise you the blessings will soon follow! You will realize a change within yourself and look forward the work it takes as you will notice an increase in strength or confidence or relationship with the Lord. It will make burdens and struggles appear in a different light as you will understand they are there to learn from! It will be become more than enjoyable. It will go beyond a desire also, and transform into a necessity! So, this is your “spiritual pep talk” to get off the couch and hit the “spiritual gym”, to get your “spiritual workout on”, and pump those “spiritual irons” so you can appreciate your “spiritual guns” your Father In Heaven is waiting to bless you with!