I heard a professional football athlete and trainer once say, “Your health goes from your conditioning on up”. It seems that today’s fitness emphasis is on strengthening your “core”.
It has been said that all of our movements are powered by the torso or core – this includes the abs and back working together as they support the spine. The torso is considered the body’s center of power. The stronger your core, the stronger the rest of you.
The same thing applies to your inner core. Every person is where they are based on the condition of their being. If your inner core is healthy, the rest of you is healthy. If your inner core is unhealthy, the same follows.
“So Jotham became mighty, because he ordered his ways before the LORD his God”. 2 Chronicles 27:6 ESV
Jotham was one of the few good Kings of Judah who was powerful because he strengthened his inner core. His name means “God is perfect” or “God is complete”. We often look outside of ourselves to be healthy. If we could just modify our behavior or make some outward adjustment, we think it will make us whole. Yet remember what Jesus said, “It’s not what Goes into a man but what comes out of him that defiles”.
Jesus drew attention to the heart as the place of transformation, not the outward part of a person. How much time do we spend monitoring the condition of our hearts? How much time do we spend trying to modify our looks, our weight, our fashion, even our behavior without really ordering our inner core?
One of Henry Nouwen’s favorite paintings was of a wheel because he said it reminded him of living your life from the center. When we live our life from the “rim” of the wheel, we focus on externals – what you can see with your eye or hear with your ear. Externals will never make you strong in your inner core. A person can be a great body builder and yet have a shriveled heart. On the other hand, we have small pimply-faced David taking on Goliath. David was not a warrior like Goliath. In fact, when offered the king’s armor, he refused it because he had not trained with it. What David had trained was his inner core, and that worked its way out into his life and to victory.
This is why circumstances don’t create the person you are, they only reveal the inner core that is there. Be it healthy or unhealthy, that is what you bring into the battlefield of life. This is why when Paul issues the spiritual armor in Ephesians Six, he first pre-empts it with the words, “And having done all, to stand”. After all, what good is having new shiny armor if you have the heart of a coward?