How We Get Stronger
I am a personal fitness trainer and strength coach. Clients come to my gym to lose weight and get stronger. Some may think it will happen just by coming in. Some may think they will get results by doing just enough. Some may think there is some magic trick that only the trainers know. These people often don’t last long. They don’t understand that in order to get stronger you have to lift things that you haven’t lifted before. In order to get results you have to be challenged. Many trainers have used this great saying “if it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you.” So in order to get stronger you need to lift heavier weights. I look at faith in a similar way. If there are not challenges in your life how can your faith grow? How can your faith increase? If things continue on in a nice status quo manner is anything making you stronger spiritually?
So we pray for our faith to be increased. This is one of the best things to pray for. Just be ready and understand what that may mean. Understand that in order to increase your faith, it may be challenged. This should not discourage you from praying that prayer. In fact, let it encourage you knowing that Jesus will be with you every step of the way.
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
I wrote a post a few months ago about faith being a gift from God. For Him to increase our faith is a huge gift. It comes with many blessings. But like I stated, it may come with trials. Persevering through those trials is what we need to do .
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. James 1:2-3
The enemy will try to attack. He will come at you and tell you to give up. He will come and tell you to run away from your faith and not to trust anyone. He will show you the dangers that having faith will bring. But much like lifting a heavy weight and being under the barbell when you are on the bench, you know when you lift that weight you will become stronger. You know that you have a spotter, a coach, a Lord and Savior named Jesus Christ, who will be with you as you press that bar of trial off of your chest and high to the sky. Then you pray for more faith and put some more weight on that bar.
Remember this too, Jesus won’t give you what you can already handle. No! He is looking to get you stronger. Prepare for more than you think you will get. Why? Because He is there with you.
Let’s take a look at Peter. Here is a man who was out fishing. Jesus said to him “follow me” and He did. Throughout each Gospel story Peter is asking many questions. Even after just following Him without asking why at that moment. Even after walking on water. When Jesus asked the Apostles who they thought He was, Peter gave an answer.
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. Matthew 16:15-18
This answer that Peter gave was of faith. Jesus even told Him this faith was given to him by God and not man. He then called him a rock and said on this confession of Him as the Christ the church will be built.
Something I find interesting about Peter was even after these miraculous things, his faith was tested even more. Tested to the point of him denying to know Jesus even after he told Jesus he would not. Even after this Jesus still loved him. He was not done with him.
But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you. Mark 16:7
Peter went on to do many great things in the face of persecution. He preached, healed, raised to life, all by the power of the Holy Spirit. Everyday his faith must have been challenged and everyday his faith must have grown. In fact he wrote:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9
I can pick several people in scripture who faced trials and tribulation, all the while their faith increased. God could have just left them alone. He could have turned His face from them. He can turn His face from us. But He loved them and loves us. He blessed them and he blesses us. He sent His Son to die on the cross just so we can be with Him. We are sinners who deserve death but we get life, freedom, grace, mercy, love, and faith.
There are many promises in the bible. One way I know it is true is because we are promised tribulation. We see that everyday. But we also see hope. We believe in hope because after three days in the grave our Savior rose from the dead. He is alive and in every believer. He can raise our broken spirits back from the dead. He can raise our broken relationships back from the dead. He will leave the 99 sheep to get the one. He will welcome you home meeting you on the road as He sees you in the distance.
Your faith may be under the bar right now. The weight may be more than you can handle. Stop trying to lift that bar alone. Those hand that are helping you lift it have wrists that have been pierced so you can know you are not alone under that bar. I might have a day where I miss the spot and the bar crushes you. Man will fail. God will not. Sometimes He will just spot you with 2 fingers instead of pulling the bar off quick.
I pray that if you are reading this and don’t know the Savior I speak of, that you desire to know Him. I pray He is at work in your heart right now. I pray that you get on your knees and talk to God. Ask Him to show Himself to you. Tell Him what you are feeling. Tell Him what you want. Ask Him to give you faith, and if you have it, ask Him to increase it. If you are under the heavy barbell press hard. Jesus is with you. A funny thing about faith, it really doesn’t take much for miracles to happen.
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you. Luke 17:5-6