In my current “Day Job” we have a fitness test we have to pass each year. It’s not a big challenge … sit-ups, push-ups … and then there is running!!! Guys, I would rather lift weights for 6 hours straight than go run 1 1/2 miles! I can think of one time in my life where I got to the point where I almost enjoyed running and it was a long, long time ago; about 30 years, 4 kids and 60 pounds ago!!! As 1Cor6:19 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;”, so I know I need to take care of the body He gave me. But running? I have found that the only way to get good at a specific thing like running or pull-ups (another nemesis) is to to that thing over and over and to have integrity in doing it. You can cheat and take short cuts on your run or not quite go all the way up on a pull-up … and maybe even get away with it … but, the only person you are cheating is yourself!

You hear a lot about strengthening your core these days and everyone has a solution for doing it. Your core is not something you can see, but can surely tell when you have neglected it … injuries, back pain, etc. What I am most concerned about for me personally, for my kids and, to be frank, our country is our Spiritual Core! I read the following devotion and thought it aptly applied here:

“Your spiritual core is made up of four values: intimacy, identity, integrity, and humility. These develop as separate entities within your “sit place with God,” as well as work together to help you in becoming all that you were destined to be and do. In your identity, it is important that you believe who you are in Christ. God states that you are very precious, chosen, holy, dearly loved, and a people belonging to Him. Believing these truths and so many more is your identity because you are created in the image of God. Believing and trusting in this identity is essential for creating a strong spiritual core.

Intimacy has already been presented in the value of sharing your voice (thoughts and feelings) openly and truthfully, pausing to receive His care and comfort, and then listening to God’s voice of truth, and taking a hold of His grace in order to trust and obey the words He speaks to you regarding your relationships and circumstances. Psalms 34 expresses this beautiful imagery of intimate relationship.

Integrity is presenting to the world that what they hear and see match, that your private life matches your public life. No discrepancies. The world needs to see the good fruit of your integrity in truth, goodness, righteousness, gratitude, humility, and reverence to God.

Humility is the fourth value that is needed to strengthen your spiritual core. It is the pathway that leads out from your spiritual core of identity, intimacy, and integrity to fulfill your role in the kingdom. With a strong spiritual core, humility is the spiritual pathway to serve others with your vision (your purpose on earth) and mission (the ways you walk out your vision). Everything God works in you is for the purpose of overflow to others. As He has loved you, so love one another. Commit to fulfilling your role in the kingdom to declare God’s grace to others.”

To me, integrity is the key and what I strive for in myself and tried to instill in my kids and I define as, “Doing what’s right when no one is looking or will ever find out otherwise.” Ephesians 5:8-10 tells us,”8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10and find out what pleases the Lord. And Colossians 3:23 instructs us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,”

Father, lead us in Your ways, whether anyone is looking or not, so that our inner core matches what our outer body is displaying.

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