Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. 3 John 2:1 NKJV
Working out is not one of my favorite past times. I don’t enjoy running, lifting weights, machine workouts and the worst of all is sweating. But I’ve learned that I must do it in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. As a youth, I ran track and “no”, I didn’t enjoy it then either. The worst part was always the beginning of the season when our coach mandated long runs as a way of conditioning and creating endurance within us. When I trained, I knew the longer runs were never going to be my race but they helped to strengthen me in my short distance races and inevitably made me faster. As an adult, I understand that although the training process is not easy, it is worth it in the end.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 NIV
Faith is a lot like working out. We start small, it takes a while, but inevitably it grows and in the end we can run the race set out before us. Faith must be trained. But just as with working out, it takes time. I remember recently when I began walking again, my body fought me. I would start walking and about five minutes in, I would have the thought, “It’s not too late to turn back.” Even my feet would begin to throb as if saying, “No! I don’t want to do this!” It’s as if your body talks to you and you have to push past it in order to get through it. That’s how faith is. Your thoughts tell you just the opposite of what God says and attacks your mind. “It’s not going to work out” or “Do you really believe that?” or the most common thought, “You have to deal with reality.” Faith is just the opposite of all these thoughts. It challenges what we see, what we know, what we’ve experienced and calls us to focus on the truth of the Word of God alone.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith… Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV
Our faith must grow if we are to experience all that God has for us. In order for faith to grow it must be worked out. I remember in the beginning of my journey with the Lord, it started with small things. I had to have faith that I could finish college. And then it was faith to get a job. After I got these things, my faith seemed to increase and believe it was even possible for me to get married! Every chance to use my faith was met by a different obstacle and I had to believe God’s word instead of my own doubts and thoughts.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 KJV
The use of faith is evidenced by not seeing it. The things “hoped for” requires us to have faith. If I were able to see it in the natural, what use would there be for faith? We believe God’s word by faith. We believe that Jesus is the son of God by faith. So we must also live by faith.
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? Romans 8:24 NIV
So, although it doesn’t feel good working out, in the end I am always glad I did it. May your faith be strengthened today and may you continue in your faith workout.
Heavenly Father, thank You for being faithful to me as I continue to trust You in my faith journey. Allow me to continue to grow in faith and to keep my focus on Your everlasting Word that does not change nor return void. You are my way-maker and I thank You for all You’ve done and are continuing to do in me, through me and for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Check out Maria’s new release through Encouragement Café Press, “To Know Him: A 31-Day Devotional Journey”, available on Amazon.