Thursday, 27 October 2011


When was the last time you had a really good work out? I'm talking about one of those good-for-the-soul, gave-a-little-extra, feel-on-top-of-the-world-even-though-you-can't-stand-up-anymore workouts. Maybe you went for a run or perhaps you participated in a group class of some kind? I confess I haven't had one of those physical workouts in a while.

But I'm really okay with that ... because recently, I have other muscles that are being toned, worked and pushed: the muscles of my faith. Don't get me wrong, I totally endorse physical activity as a healthy way to release stress, especially during difficult soul journey moments.

But sometimes the soul work the Lord is doing in us requires all of our physical strength too. Perhaps that's why it's so important to be in good shape - so that when our hearts and souls are in those immediate pressure situations, we can draw on the strength we have developed. At the very least, that is most definitely why we need to be strengthening our faith muscles in the off seasons.

So often though, we don't train our faith muscles in the less intense seasons of our heart journeys. Yet, it is in the quiet times where we rest and build up our strength for the times when we are tested. Reading the Bible, seeking the Lord, and practicing spiritual disciplines all contribute to exercising our faith muscles.

Jesus practiced in the off seasons. The Bible says that “Jesus grew in wisdom…” (Luke 2:52). Being fully human, he had to learn and prepare before he too was tested. And He drew on those lessons during his desert temptation - quoting scripture He had spent time memorizing. For a while, I thought that those verses and the strength to resist just magically came to Him because He was fully God. But He was also fully human, and He had to learn. What an amazing example He sets for us. We know firsthand that it’s not as easy as a wave of a magic wand.

When the muscles of our faith are tested,
it looks painful {just like the physical}.

Training is not easy work. It takes motivation, effort and discipline. It’s a very real reality for me that I pretty much need to exert the same amount of effort to psych myself up for a work out that the workout itself will take. But isn’t it true that the worthwhile things take effort?

Our faith muscles need to grow too. At times, it will be painful for us. It’s also painful to watch others go through those seasons – whether it’s our kids, friends, those we work with or other family members. But we have a trainer who knows what He’s doing. We can trust Him. He knows us so much more intimately than we know ourselves.

Are you in a time of training right now? Utilize it. Are you in a time of testing right now? Endure it. God is in control – you can trust that both of these seasons have value, and whatever one you’re currently in, have faith that you will see the other one soon.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.:.

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