Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Core Strength

On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:37-39)
This morning at our Tuesday a.m. Bible study, we were discussing Romans 8:13, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” We were considering how we do this “by the Spirit.” One of the men shared something his personal fitness trainer told him about “core strength.”

Core strength is the strength of the muscles in your torso, which give stability and support to your spine, and the regions of your pelvis and your shoulders. Good core strength enables you to generate powerful movement of your arms and legs. My friend’s trainer related to him the power and importance of developing and using this core strength.

As he was telling us this, my mind went immediately to what Jesus said in John 7:38, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John notes in verse 39 that Jesus was speaking of the Holy Spirit.

“Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” The KJV says, “Out of his belly.” The Greek word refers literally to the abdomen, in the core of the body. Used figuratively, it speaks of the heart, the core of one’s being. Whoever believes in Jesus, out of the core of his being will flow rivers of living water.

“Rivers of living water” speaks of a powerful abundance. It is not a trickling stream or a gently babbling brook. No, think of the mighty Mississippi River and you will have a much better idea of what this is talking about. The mighty waters that issue forth from the core of those who know the Lord Jesus is the power and manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

That is what Paul is talking about in Romans 8:
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:11)
Think of it — the same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead now dwells in all those who have been born again through Christ. That same power is now at work in us, in our spirits and our bodies, to bring about the will of God. This is the power Paul was talking about when he spoke of “Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think,” and adds the startling revelation that God does this “according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20). That is, the power by which God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think actually dwells within us. It is the power of the Holy Spirit flowing forth from our innermost being to bring forth the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and the works of Jesus (John 14:12). It is the power that destroys the works of the devil and the misdeeds of the flesh. It is the power to live a life that is pleasing to God. That is core strength.

Our part, then, is simply to yield to the Spirit of God and let Him lead us. That is how we come into spiritual maturity. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Romans 8:14).

Spiritual maturity in the Christian life is never about trying to do anything in our own strength, but by surrendering to the Holy Spirit and relying on Him as our core strength, and He will give powerful movement to everything we do.