Are you exercising? Are you becoming stronger? Will you work at it? What are you doing to strengthen your faith? Are you exercising your faith? Are you testing your faith? Are you stepping out and trusting God a little more each day?
Why do we exercise our bodies? We likely exercise to be healthy. How are we healthier due to exercise? Our heart and lung capacities increase. If we exercise outside, and we should to the extent possible, our immune systems are exposed to a wide variety of germs. Our immune system kicks in, fights them off, and becomes stronger.
Paul tells Timothy that being physically fit has some value (1 Timothy 4:8). He doesn’t say it is the ultimate in value, but we need to be physically able to do the work God lays before us. I believe Paul is telling Timothy to remain physically fit to perform the tasks he is called to do, while not neglecting the most important thing, which is spreading the gospel.
How does this relate to our faith? Physical fitness is a type for our spiritual fitness. Our faith must be strengthened, yet we often don’t think about how we go about doing that. Much like we exercise our physical bodies, pushing them to do more, we must push our faith to increase it.
We can exercise our faith by doing little things at first, much like we start out running a mile rather than a marathon. Our faith exercise may start as simply confessing to be a follower of Jesus when asked. It can be a bit scary at first, but it gets easier the more we do it. We increase our faith.
We can step out of our comfort zone to take on a task at our church. Perhaps it means teaching an elementary age Sunday School class. Perhaps it is saying an opening prayer in front of the congregation. Perhaps we are asked to relate our story and how we came to be a follower of Jesus for our church. Our faith increases.
Ultimately, we want our faith to increase so we can rely on it when the really tough things come, much like a soldier trains for war. Unfortunately, we are in the middle of a war, whether we realize it or not, and Satan continues to attack us. Our faith, trust in God, needs to increase to ward off those attacks. Our faith allows us to persevere.
I pray each of us will take up the challenge to exercise our faith. I pray our faith increases each and every day. I pray the faith of us all will strengthen us to do the work God sets before us. Exercise physically. Exercise spiritually. Increase your faith. Become strong in your faith. Prepare for the fight and persevere. God is faithful.
James 1:2-3 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.