What is Spiritual Fitness?

Many people in recovery have wondered what it means to be spiritually fit.  Some assume it is akin to spiritual perfection: never having any resentment, fear, or selfishness, never needing to call their sponsor or say “thy will not mine be done”, never finding any “red ink” on a spiritual review at the end of the day.

Thankfully, this assumption is untrue.  These aren’t the metrics used to measure spiritual fitness.  We can clearly see this when we compare spiritual fitness to physical fitness.

Imagine a person who is physically unfit:

  • they cannot run two blocks without weezing
  • they cannot climb a flight of stairs without feeling faint
  • they cannot lift 50 pounds to save their life

Now imagine this person joins a physical fitness program like P90X or some similar fitness regiment. After following the directions they see visible results.

One day you ask them how they are doing and they share the following about their day:

  •  “I had to chase a bus for a couple blocks before it stopped for me.”
  • “Because the elevator was broken I had to climb five flights of stairs to get to my apartment.”.
  • “Then I had to move some boxes out of storage that must have weighed 80 pounds each.”
  • “Clearly I’m not physically fit.”

Anybody can see this logic makes no sense. Yet, people in recovery often support such thinking when it comes to spiritual fitness:

  • “I prayed the sick man prayer six times.”
  • “I called my sponsor 3 times.”
  • “My spiritual review showed some fear, resentments, harm, and selfishness.”
  • “Clearly I’m not spiritually fit.”

A person who is not spiritually fit cannot engage the processes above.  To judge a person spiritually unfit because of how often they rely on them or what they show when they do rely on them is backward reasoning.

Contrary to popular belief, our daily reprieve is NOT contingent on our spiritual condition. What the Big Book actually says is: “What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.”

When we compare our spiritual condition to an automobile the distinction becomes more clear:

  • Our ability to get from point A to point B depends on our automobile.
  • Our ability to get from point A to point B depends on the maintenance of our vehicle

Whether you own a Ferrari or a Chevy is not what matters. What matters is how often we attend to the maintenance of said Ferrari or Chevy by changing the oil, replacing the belts, checking the air in the tires, etc…

It is through this attendance and maintenance that God occasionally grants an “upgrade” – an improved conscious contact with Him.

POINT TO PONDER: Real growth isn’t improved behavior or circumstances; it is improved conscious contact with God.

Ever feel concerned about your recovery?

I’ve developed a printable checklist to help you stay mindful of your efforts.  

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