As I’ve spent time studying some of the great people in the Bible, I’ve noticed that there are some basic characteristics they all have in common. One of these inescapable traits that, time and time again, makes the “must have’ list is faith. I crave, like many of you, to strive towards greatness, pressing towards my spiritual goals. Therefore, like many, I have days where I feel closer to achieving the ‘mark’ than I do other days. Unfortunately, it is the days where I am least on my game when I come across a verse like this one:
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”
This small passage is found in Hebrews 11:6, but is sandwiched in with a whole passage that talks about the heroic greats who needed faith to do what God had called them to. People like Moses, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, and Enoch. While every Christian is likely aware that faith is required on some level to receive God, why then do we think that the practice and growth of faith stops after our spiritual awakening? Faith is a muscle and without a workout program, the muscle stays weak. Just like the physical muscles in our body, our faith wasn’t made to stay unused; it was meant to be pushed, flexed, and grown.
Here’s something fascinating that I learned while studying how people get ‘buff’ at the gym,
“The process of muscle growth is not known for sure, but most theories are based on the idea that lifting breaks down the muscle, and growth results from over-compensating to protect the body from future stress. The human body breaks down and rebuilds all of the muscles every 15 to 30 days. Lifting speeds up the process due to an increased need for fuel. Rebuilding peaks 24 to 36 hours after training and continues at increased rates for as much as 72 hours.”
Muscle growth cannot happen without first allowing the muscles to be broken. If this analogy was treated like a modern day parable, can you see the correlation between working out in the gym and what is needed to build our supernatural faith? Ironically, brokenness is the recipe for strength and when I look at Abraham & see the Father of Nations, I am reminded that he was once a common man just wanting a kid to call him dad. When I marvel at the faith it took Noah to build a massive ark in his backyard, I am prompted to think that there were probably days he wondered if it would ever rain. And when I appreciate Moses’ action of standing before Pharaoh, boldly delivering God’s people, I also have to recall a petrified teenage boy cowardly running away from a crime he committed forever labeling himself murderer, not life-saver. The reality is that all of these heroes were challenged by what God spoke over their lives and how they saw themselves in the natural. The ability to believe God’s voice over their own was what separated them from their past and brought them into the future God was bringing them towards. Brokenness was the component in which God allowed them to grow their spiritual muscles.
Faith is something we can always choose despite what we think or see. Brokenness often doesn’t work that same way. People choose to have faith, but people rarely choose to be broken. Frailty is something that we resist at all costs. However, the bulky man bench-pressing 350 pounds of steel has to have his muscles broken down in order to double in size, just like the average joe. So, what if we used the broken experiences in our lives to develop unthinkable spiritual strength? What if we weren’t afraid of exercising our faith, knowing that it would speed up the process to refuel us spiritually? What if we recognized that it will be impossible to please God without faith and so we actually start shunning our doubts? None of these things are easy, but faith is something that all need. We need it to find God initially and we need it to continue living the life He has set out for us.