Today, I am starting a series entitled “Essential Exercises for Building a Better Body.”


If we all would honest that we could use a little tuning up. We need some body-building. We need to improve our bodies.


Now, I’m not simply talking about our physical bodies. Although that is probably true for most of us physically, and although it is unhealthy, even dangerous to be out of shape, flabby and weak, there is a greater danger we face.


You may be asking yourself, “If the pastor isn’t talking about the physical body, then what body is he talking about?” I am talking about the body of relationships you are involved in daily.


The relationship between you and your family

The relationship between you and your church family

The relationship between you and your friends

The relationship between you and your co-workers

The relationship between you and the other parents at little-league

The relationship between you and the person sitting in the seat next to you this morning.


The “body” of relationships that make up our church, which is called “The Body of Christ.”


This body of relationships that we all have is the context in which we live life. Now, I don’t know about you, but I tend to think that life can be kind of difficult at times. Life is often hard. But we don’t have to just endure life, we can thoroughly enjoy it and live it to the fullest. Jesus tells us in


John 10:10

I came that everyone would have life and have it in it’s fullest.”


The full life that Christ came to give us starts in a personal relationship with him, and it is daily lived out in the context of the relationships we have with others, inside the church, inside the home, inside the office, etc.

Jesus wants us to live the full life and he gave his very life so that we can do just that. It is His free gift, offered to us. However, to truly experience all the fullness that he offers to us, we need to make sure that the body of relationships we live in is a healthy body. That’s why we’re going to spend the next few weeks considering the essential exercises for building a better body.


These exercises, or principles, for building a better body are found in the Bible, God’s Word to us.


The biblical principles I am going to look at over the next few weeks can be applied to our relationship within the local church and they can be applied to our relationships:

– with our families

– at church

– at home

– at work

– on the athletic field

– at school

– wherever.


These biblical principles can be applied to every relationship you have.

In fact, they are essential exercises if you want to build healthier, stronger relationships.


Now, since these are Biblical principles, or principles based upon what the Bible teaches, then the first thing we need to do is to look at the Bible and see what it says to us regarding these essential exercises.


Look with me at Ephesians 6:10-18. We’re going to look at this passage of scripture with an eye toward building a better body

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints

.When we look at these verses we see the essential exercises needed to build a better body of relationships.


– Allocate Strength

– Act with Integrity

– Attain Righteousness

– Advance Real Peace

– Assert your Faith

– Align Your Thoughts With Christ

– Acknowledge the Word

– Approach Christ in prayer


Today Let’s look at the first exercise that is essential to building a better body. If we want to truly have a better body of relationships, then we have to learn to allocate true strength.


Let’s face it, maintaining healthy relationships is hard work. It takes a high degree of strength, and most of us don’t feel like we have the strength or energy to do what is necessary to maintain healthy relationships in all areas of our lives.


Keeping a relationship healthy involves a high degree of maintenance. And relationship maintenance means using a lot of your strength.


It takes mental strength, it takes emotional strength, it takes spiritual strength to keep a relationship happy, and when you have to apply that strength to the relationships you have at home, at work, at church, etc. you quickly begin to run out of strength.


The fact is neither you nor I have enough strength to really keep all of the relationships we have in a state of good health. We are just over stretched.


However, I have good news for you. There is a source of strength that we can have as strength is needed. Our strength can be supplied from God Himself.


Look with me again at Ephesians 6:10


“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”


Paul, the author of this letter, tells us exactly where we can find the strength we need. We find it in the Lord, and in His mighty power. If I don’t have the strength myself to keep things healthy, then I have to turn somewhere else to get the strength I need, and that somewhere else is really a someone else! It is Jesus Christ who gives me the strength I need.


Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”


That “all things” includes maintaining the health of the myriad of relationships I have to exist within.


Why is Paul so adamant that we find our strength in God? Because he understands that the struggles we face go beyond just time constraints and personality issues. He knows that the real battle we face comes from a strong enemy.


Look at Ephesians 6:12 again, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”


He knows that the devil loves it when our relationships are in turmoil. Because when our relationships are in turmoil we cannot focus upon God as we should. It is hard to draw close to God when we are having people problems as home at work and at church. Thus since we lack strength on our own and since we are fighting a very strong, very crafty, very dangerous and evil enemy, we must find our strength in God and God alone.


So if God has the power and I need it, how do I allocate that power or strength to use in building a better body? I’m glad you asked.


There are four steps we need to take to get the strength we need, when we need it, to maintain healthy relationships that honor God. Let’s take just a few minutes and consider those five steps.


How do we allocate the strength offered so that we may “Be Strong in the Lord?”

  1. Acknowledge our weakness without His strength.
  2. Affirm His strength and His presence.
  3. Align yourself with His will.
  4. Act in obedience.



  • Admit That You’re Weak Without God


Let’s be honest for just a minute. 99.9% of us don’t like to depend upon other people. We don’t like to depend upon anyone but ourselves. If we have trouble the first thing we do is bare down and try to get through it ourselves.


We’re raised that way. Our nation was founded with the ideals of independence and rugged individualism at the center of all that we believe. We view as weak those who have to lean on others to get through it.


However, if we are so good at being independent, then why are broken relationships at epidemic levels in our society? If we are so strong and have the power to fix things ourselves, why is the divorce rate as high as the marriage rate in America? Why is the divorce rate as high as the marriage rate in conservative, evangelical churches?


Why are we in a relationship crisis in our society? The reason is that we are weak, we simply don’t want to admit it. However, if we are going to allocate strength from God, we must admit that we are weak without Him.


As Lee Strobel, the former teaching pastor at Willow Creek Church has said, “We can’t be filled with the power of God until we first empty ourselves of the pretense that we can get by on our own.”

Power is available for all of us. There is no secret chant or special ceremony necessary to access this supernatural power from God. We simply need to acknowledge that we need it.


We are weak without His power. Jesus said in John 15:5

“I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay joined to me, and I stay joined to you, then you will produce lots of fruit. But you cannot do anything without me.”


That last sentence sums it all up. We cannot do anything without Him!

We cannot build any healthy relationship… …without Him!

Not at home, work, church or anywhere… …without Him!


There is a second step we must take to allocate strength. We need to affirm God’s power and presence!


  • Affirm God’s Power and Presence


Affirm: To assert strongly: declare positively.

Another dictionary put it this way: To put into words positively, with conviction!


If we want to allocate strength or power from God, then we need to strongly declare, with conviction that God does indeed have power.

1 Chronicles 16:11-12 says this “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders has had done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced. Trust the Lord and his mighty power. Worship him always. Remember his miracles and all his wonders and his fair decisions.”

If you want to affirm the power and the presence of God, then spend time remembering the times he has worked on your behalf.

If you can’t think of any such times, then open the Word of God and read about his miracles and his wonders.

This book is full of accounts of God working wonders and miracles. It contains true story after true story of his power working on our behalf.

He led Moses and the Israelites out of Egypt and through the Red Sea! That’s power.

He knocked down the wall of the city of Jericho! That’s power.

He enabled weak and frightened Gideon to take 300 men and destroy an enemy army numbering in the 10’s of thousands! That’s power.

He enabled little David to take out big Goliath! That’s power.

He healed the lame, the blind, and the demon possessed! That’s power.

He raised the dead! That’s power.

He raised his only Son, Jesus, to life-never to die again-after he had died for our sins and been in the tomb for three days! That’s power.

The Bible is full of stories of God’s power at work and that power is available to us.

The first step in allocating strength is to admit we are weak without God, the second is to affirm, with conviction his power and his presence. But there is a third step we must take. We must be willing to align ourselves with God’s will.


3) Align Yourself With God’s Will


The third step in allocating the strength of the Lord is to align yourself with God’s will.

There are few things more dangerous than a person who has power of some sort and yet doesn’t know how to use that power.


Give a six year old a power saw and you’ll see what I mean. Either they will destroy something, they will hurt someone or they will hurt themselves. A six-year-old child has no business using power tools.


Turn an inexperienced driver loose in a crowded parking lot or on a crowded free-way and you’re asking for trouble. Not because they are inherently bad or because they are evil, but because they have power that they don’t know how to use.

The same applies to the power or strength that we can allocate from God. We shouldn’t think we’ll receive any such strength if we don’t first know how to use that strength. You see, many of us want God’s strength, God’s power, so that we can accomplish what we want in life and so that we can get what we want from our relationships.


We often ask for power from God without first asking what God’s will is and then aligning ourselves with that will. That is why we lack power many times.


“You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives…” James 4:2b-3a


Can you relate to that? How many of you have asked God for strength in dealing with “people problems” not so that you could fix the broken relationship or so that you could be a witness to the other person, but so that you could get your way, or at least get comfortable again?


If we want to allocate the strength that God make’s available to us then we have take the time to find out what God’s will is and then align ourselves with His will.


It says an angel came and strengthened Jesus in the garden after His prayer. Jesus needed strength, not to do his own thing, but to do the will of God. “…yet not my will, but yours be done.”


If we want to allocate the strength that God has for us, then we must first of all align ourselves with His will. That means we have to be willing to submit what we want to what he knows is best.

It means giving up our desires, our plans, our designs for our relationships and letting God have his way. That sounds like a scary proposition, but it isn’t. If you think about it, it’s a win.

There is another step we must take if we are going to gain access to the strength that God has for us. We need to ask God for the power we need.


4) Act in Obedience to God

Even if we have done all of the above, admitting our weakness, affirming God’s power, and aligning ourselves with his will we may not feel powerful. We may not feel like we have the strength needed. But it’s there.

What we need to do is to step out and act in obedience. We need to move forward, in faith, believing that God has and will give us the strength. And as we obey him the strength we need will be given to us.

God’s strength is not primarily “potential strength.”

He doesn’t have this big battery full of strength and power waiting for us to tap into it. God’s strength for us is primarily “kinetic strength.” Strength in motion, power in action.

After the Israelites had left Egypt and spent 40 years wandering around the Arabian desert, the time had come for them to enter the land God had promised to them. However, there was a major obstacle. The Jordan river, which was the eastern boundary of the Promised Land at that time was at flood stage and they had to cross it. But God had a plan. He promised he would part the waters, like he had done with the Red Sea, but this time he worked just a little bit differently. He told them he would part the waters as they stepped into the river and moved forward. As long as they stood on the river bank waiting for God to part the waters nothing happened. But when they acted in obedience and stepped forward, the water parted. (Story found in Joshua 3)

God wants the same kind of faith to be exhibited in our lives. He wants us to step forward in obedience and as we act in obedience, he gives us the needed strength.

Relationships are hard work. Relationships at home, at work, at church, where-ever take hard work. The body of relationships that we find ourselves existing within must be maintained and built up.

Because of that we’re looking at the essential exercises for building a better body. But to really do the needed exercises we must have strength. We need to have real power and real strength that comes from a source that is bigger than us.

That’s why the Apostle Paul tells us to “be strong in the Lord!” The strength we need to keep our relationships healthy is a strength that we don’t have, but we do have access to it. We need only to allocate it.

How do we allocate the strength offered so that we may “Be Strong in the Lord?”

  1. Acknowledge our weakness without His strength.
  2. Affirm His strength and His presence.
  3. Align yourself with His will.
  4. Act in obedience.

Where do you need strength? What relationship needs a degree of strength that is beyond you? Is it a relationship at home? Is it a relationship at work? Is it a relationship with someone in the church? Is it your relationship with the church or more importantly, is it your relationship with Jesus Christ that needs a special infusion of supernatural strength?

Whatever the relationship, I assure God wants to give the strength you need, real power to make it work. This morning right now, start to take the steps necessary to allocate his strength and he will supply you beyond your wildest dreams! Be Strong in the Lord!