Rebuilding Flabby Faith Muscles
By Diane Markins
Are you fat, lazy and graceless…in your faith? When was the last time you truly worked on your faith muscles? Just as our bones hold us up and our ligaments and skin keep everything contained, our salvation faith—what Christ did on the cross—will sustain us. But in order to keep our faith growing and in good shape, we need to exercise our faith muscles.
I recently saw a great example of this as my pastor stretched his faith muscles. He talked about the importance of tithing. Not just how much it means to God, but what a blessing it is to the giver. As he concluded he offered a money-back guarantee to anyone who committed to give at least 10 percent of their earnings for 90 days. If anyone wasn’t satisfied with the resultant blessings in their life, the church would reimburse them. This has nothing to do with material gain, but with receiving intangible rewards like peace, provision, comfort and joy. By stretching his faith muscles this pastor inspired others to begin stretching theirs as well.
Our faith muscles will atrophy if we don’t use them. We need to stretch them and build them up for strength. As we stretch them beyond the limit of our comfort (only as far as they typically go every day) we allow ourselves greater flexibility, grace and longer strides. After we stretch and begin to move more freely, we also begin to gain strength of faith. Colossians 2: 6-7 says,
“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.”
In my family, each of us has been stretching our faith muscles lately. My son went to Zimbabwe and stayed with strangers, having many experiences that stretched him. His wife took care of everything alone while he was away. My daughter has a new management job and is learning to step out in authority that has been given to her. My husband is strengthening as he finds creative ways to keep our business alive and all our employees working in a bad economy. Others are flexing new muscles as they strain to trust God for healing. This exercise keeps us strong just as 1 Corinthians 16:13 says,
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.”
Every word I write is my effort at extending my tight faith muscles. They want to hold me back and keep me in the same spot, but God says that I need to push back and go beyond my point of comfort—even if it hurts. I want to see how strong my faith can get; what I can accomplish, but this will only be realized if I (and YOU) stop being a spectator and begin exercising faith muscles to the point that they are sore and tired. Stop watching other people talk about faith on Christian TV programming or at chuch, and get up and move your faith into invigorating action. In difficult circumstances (like a bad economy) people all around you need someone solid to hold them up.
What new thing could you try? What could you do better? Where is God working that you could join Him if you just stretched a tiny bit? If you have puny, flabby faith muscles, consider this a challenge to bulk up!
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Diane Markins writes and speaks in a "high def, life-transforming style" about issues that impact daily living.She is the host of Women in High Def radio show, but is also a speaker and writer. She enjoys travel and has been from Mexico to Zimbabwe but always loves coming home to roost in Arizona near her family. See more of her writing at DianeMarkins.com.
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