News flash :::: Workouts make you stronger. Only the muscles you exercise will keep working over the long term. Not exactly shocking info, right? There’s a spiritual parallel here.
Do you have any sort of an exercise regimen? Maybe for you it’s swimming. Or walking. Or some sort of a weight routine. I used to do karate for many years every morning, now the most exercised part of my anatomy in the early morning is my fingers as I write out these devotionals.
One of people I work with loves to run, and he puts in 5 to 7 miles a day on the road. It’s not unusual for him to call into a zoom meeting with the sound of cars, trucks and sirens in the background as he hits the pavement. Another person I know is diligent about hitting the gym several times a week. He’s not a bodybuilder, he is only deliberate about keeping himself in shape. As for me, I know that typing doesn’t really count as exercise, and I’m desperately trying to find time in my schedule to walk briskly a few times a week. We all know that the more we use our physical muscles the stronger they get.
The same principle applies to our brain. My son had an massive amount of information he had to ingest and be able to recall as he went through a couple years of medical training. One of the first things he did was re-learn how to study, because he knew his old method wasn’t good enough. So he learned an excellent method, and then develop those study skills to a finely-honed edge.
Whether physical or intellectual, we “work out” to develop capacity, utility and resiliency. Being at the top of your form quite simply puts you in a better place than someone who’s brain or body is out of shape. Endless hours in front of a computer screen scrolling through social media or playing Final Fantasy XIV will not increase either your physical or intellectual capacity.
Today’s verse says BE STRONG IN YOUR FAITH.
But what does a spiritual workout look like? There are numerous and excellent books on spiritual discipline, prayer, how to read the bible for all it’s worth, fasting and literally any other topic on spiritual strength. Knowing about the bible and prayer is not the same as reading the bible and praying. You can starve to death even if you know a chef and have food in your cupboard. You actually have to eat in order to benefit from the nutrition. (I know, SHOCKING, right !?!?!)
Here’s where Nike’s “Just Do It!” tagline comes into play. We have to actually DO the things that will develop and strengthen our faith. Reading the bible and asking God to speak to you through what you read is like eating a solid spiritual meal. Jesus said that we don’t live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Complaining that God is silent while your bible remains closed is like complaining about not getting texts while your phone is off. He uses His word in our lives; it is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. Through what we read and learn in His word, we are made complete and equipped for every good work. God’s word is living and active. It calls our hearts to ALIGNMENT, then REFINEMENT, and finally ASSIGNMENT
But don’t forget the “assignment” part. Faith is TAKING what God has GIVEN you and using it! We are saved by grace through faith, it has nothing to do with working SO THAT we are forgiven. But once we have entered this new life relationship with Jesus, we are supposed to be DOING the things that He created us to do! We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. He equips you and me with everything good that we need to do His will. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. He wants you “in shape” to do His will, completely equipped for every good work He has created you to do.
Our faith will be a benefit to others when we live it out well. But it is also a great strength in our own lives as we face the trials and challenges of daily living. Here’s a tip – The time to develop your faith is before you need to be strong in His grace. A strong faith will take you through times of trial and challenge much better than a weak or dead faith will. A strong faith will hold you up when the weight of the world is trying to sink you.
So, take the time to be strong in your faith. It’s totally worth it.
And if you need help figuring out the next steps to strengthen YOUR faith, message me. I know a guy with the answers. And I can help you connect to Him. I know He would love to talk with you.
BE STRONG IN YOUR FAITH.