How Much Further Can You Go if You Stretch?
Are you fat, lazy and graceless…in your faith? When was the last time you truly worked on your faith muscles? Just as our bones hold us up and our ligaments and skin keep everything contained, our salvation faith—what Christ did on the cross—will sustain us. But in order to keep our faith growing and in good shape, we need to exercise our faith muscles.
I recently saw a great example of this as my pastor stretched his faith muscles. He talked about the importance of tithing. Not just how much it means to God, but what a blessing it is to the giver. As he concluded, he offered a money-back guarantee to anyone who committed to give at least 10 percent of their earnings for 90 days. If anyone wasn’t satisfied with the resultant blessings in their life, the church would reimburse them. This has nothing to do with material gain, but with receiving intangible rewards like peace, provision, comfort and joy. By stretching his faith muscles, this pastor inspired others to begin stretching theirs as well.
Our faith muscles will atrophy if we don’t use them. We need to stretch them and build them up for strength. As we stretch them beyond the limit of our comfort (only as far as they typically go every day), we allow ourselves greater flexibility, grace and longer strides. After we stretch and begin to move more freely, we also begin to gain strength of faith.
In my family, each of us has been stretching our faith muscles lately. My son went to Zimbabwe and stayed with strangers, having many experiences that stretched him. His wife took care of everything alone while he was away. My daughter has a new management job and is learning to step out in authority that has been given to her. My husband is strengthening as he finds creative ways to keep our business alive and all our employees working in a bad economy. Others are flexing new muscles as they relax and trust God for healing.
Every word I write is my effort at extending my tight faith muscles. They want to hold me back and keep me in the same spot, but God says that I need to push back and go beyond my point of comfort—even if it hurts. I want to see how strong my faith can get; what I can accomplish, but this will only be realized if I (and YOU) stop being a spectator and begin exercising faith muscles to the point that they are sore and tired.
What new thing could you try? What could you do better? Where is God working that you could join Him if you just stretched a tiny bit?
About the author: Diane Markins, author of Words In High Def blog, CBN and Presidential Prayer Team contributor and conference speaker.