What’s your exercise routine: a daily walk around the neighborhood, a five-mile bike ride, lifting weights at the gym? We know that regular exercise is important for our muscles. If we don’t use them, they will inevitably become weaker. To stay strong or grow in strength they need to push or pull against some kind of resistance.
Have you thought about how faith in Jesus is much the same? It’s a spiritual “muscle” that needs to be used daily in order to stay strong. Think of how God provided a “workout” for Abraham’s faith when God told him to sacrifice his son Isaac. Faith had to push against the resistance of common sense, emotion, and doubt in order to follow through with the Lord’s instruction. By God’s grace Abraham met the challenge and his faith came through all the stronger.
Every day our faith encounters resistance from all sides. From within, our old Adam tries to prevent it from even trying to follow God’s will by telling us it’s too hard and not worth the effort. The world sets up one obstacle and hurdle after another in the believer’s path. It flings mud balls of mockery and hatred as we run the race marked out for us. The devil tries to bog us down with temptations and doubts. It’s not easy to constantly push and pull against the resistance. Faith can become fatigued and strained.
When tired and pushed to the limit, muscles in arms and legs need downtime to recuperate and a good diet for fuel. Faith too needs rest and refreshment. God provides an endless supply in His Word. He may not immediately lift a burden of sickness from our bodies or the weight of a trouble from our hearts, but He is always ready to give us the rest and refreshment of His promises. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).
When you’re spiritually drained and you can’t take another step, go to Jesus and His Word. Read again in Scripture how He carried all your sin and griefs to the cross and suffered the death you deserved. As far as God is concerned, your sins are completely gone forever. You’re at peace with Him. That refreshes and builds up faith, and gives you renewed energy for the marathon of life.
Along with exercise for the body, make faith-training a part of your daily schedule. Peter writes: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). St. Paul encourages: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). Feed faith with a steady diet of the Word both at home and in church, and then put it into practice in everything.
Tomorrow’s sermon text (Matt. 14:22-33) is an example of how Jesus used a heart-pounding crisis on the Sea of Galilee and His saving Word to exercise and strengthen the faith of the disciples.
The activity committee for Oct.-Dec. will have an organizational meeting tomorrow at 9 a.m. in the kitchen.
Also remember, the intergenerational Sunday School class will follow second service. We don’t often have an opportunity to bring together all ages for a joint Bible study, and yet it can be very enjoyable and faith-building for all. Why not join us?
In Jesus’ name,