The Magnificent Seven: Part VII- Fortitude, Strength with Guts

Practicing the Pilates Magnificent Seven moves serves to find and strengthen the core muscles of the body.  The core, when strengthened, allows us to stand upright, exerting power and control outward into the larger muscles of the body.  This results in stability and protection as we seek firmness and strength.  Practicing all of the Pilates principles such as awareness, alignment, concentration, precision, control, and flow is necessary to strengthen and build these core muscles. This inner core is activated during our movements anchoring us with a stable center, the powerhouse of the body.   With this powerful inner “house” we have the protection necessary for the unexpected movements that our bodies experience on a daily basis.

Our spiritual lives must also be anchored by a strong core in order to stand upright and perform our daily movements with power, control, and firm strength.  This firm strength, or fortitude-our seventh virtue- is necessary in order to protect us from the unexpected in our spiritual lives.  Fortitude comes from the word fortify.  Biblical texts define it as something that is steadfast, holding firm, a stronghold, restraint, strength, constant, established, defended.  Most of these words indicate withstanding of an opposing force, the unexpected attacks that come into our lives.  My favorite description of fortitude is that it means one is inaccessible due to being fortified.  Guess what?  When we engage our CORE in Christ, we are inaccessible to life’s unexpected onslaughts because we are protected!  Just like our physical core protects our body from the center out, so does our spiritual core protect us…this is our Strength with GUTS—our fortitude!  With it we can stand upright with power and control, with firm strength moving through the unexpected things of this life but still anchored to the CORE—our powerhouse.

 Just as we activate our central core for Pilates by incorporating the Pilates principles, we must engage Christ as our powerhouse so that He, through His word can be active in fortifying our houses-the temples for the Holy Spirit.   We seek to build our physical bodies, not as temples for this world, but as temples for the Holy Spirit.  This is our goal, a strong core that fortifies us so we can move with focus and power through God’s plan for us– despite the unexpected things of this life.  This building requires a strong center within us as well as the fortitude- our strength with guts- to move out when tested by the unexpected.  Who better to supply that than the Defender and of this world?  Psalm 18:2 tells us, “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”  When God is at the center of our lives, He is our strong core, our fortress.  He protects us from within giving us the strength, the fortitude we need to move through the unexpected in life- upright and with stability.  The psalm goes on to say, “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him… It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.”  With His Word as our center, we take refuge in this flawless fortress, this powerhouse, as we seek to be perfected, built to be whole, a dwelling place for the His Holy Spirit.

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