Is spiritual fitness that important?

| November 2, 2017 | 0 Comments

Footsteps in Faith

Chaplain (Capt.) Jonathan D. Todd
Battalion Chaplain
325th Brigade
3rd Infantry Bde. Combat Team
25th Infantry Division
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — As an Army chaplain, I have the privilege to help Soldiers and families with their lives.

Everyone I have served shares a common need, a spiritual fitness. How one defines this concept can range from a personal relationship with God to seeking one’s place in the universe, but always this element bears deep significance upon who they are as a person.


The challenge of strengthening this part of our identity can be difficult as we strive to balance all of who we are and accomplish all that our lives require of us. The key to this balance is two-fold: prioritization and intentionality.

We must prioritize, protect and intentionally cultivate our growth spiritually to be holistically strong and healthy.

We train and deploy in support of our nation’s needs, and here in the Pacific Rim, those needs are many. We train hard because the threats we defend against are real and dangerous. Without being holistically strong to include spiritually, we stand weaker before the enemies who desire to see us fall.

To be holistically strong, we condition our bodies and minds. We train to become experts tactically and technically. We train to be mentally strong, to push our bodies to endure and overcome great challenges.

We must also recognize and prioritize spiritual health within our readiness as warriors and among the relational needs we owe to our loved ones. Why? Because our spiritual health is foundational to who we are as a person.

This truth is observed in every human being who is in a deep relationship with another person. That deep relationship changes who they are. The deeper the relationship, the greater its effect.

There is no deeper relationship than between mankind and God. From a Christian perspective, our relationship with God transforms us at the very core of who we are (2 Corinthians 5:17). This redefining of us spiritually shapes and strengthens our identity. This God-relationship gives us hope, love, perspective and many other elements that together provide a profound strength to stand against everything this world can throw at us.

The Army Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness addresses this. Spirituality is one of the five dimensions of strength. This strength when combined with other components reinforces us holistically and produces a synergy of strength.

Intentional spiritual growth is key to maintaining holistic growth.

Milo of Croton was a six time wrestling champion of the Ancient Olympic Games. As a boy, he carried a young bull every day as part of his strength building. As the bull grew in size, Milo grew in strength until he was capable of carrying a full-grown bull on his shoulders around the Greek Coliseum.

This has been adopted as the foundation for the physical strength training concept “progressive overload.” The same training concept should be applied to growing our spiritual strength. To become strong, we must be active and intentional in our spiritual growth.

How can we do this?
1) Consider if growing stronger spiritually is valuable to you?
2) Decide should spiritual growth be reprioritized ahead of current priorities for you? How much will this reprioritizing truly cost you?
3) Choose how you will increase your spiritual growth (read a 15-min daily devotional, join a weekly Bible study, have daily prayer time, listen to a radio sermon, etc.).
4) Be intentionally dedicated to following your growth plan.
Growing spiritually requires practice. Start small, be intentional, set conditions for your spiritual health and relationship with God to grow and ensure your spiritual fitness has a high priority in your life. If you maintain this you will grow stronger holistically.


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