In order to keep the muscles of your body fit, you must exercise them regularly, give them the proper nutrition and hydration, and, of course, give them adequate rest.
But what about the muscle of your faith? How do you keep your faith fit?
In this [salvation] you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
(1 Peter 1:6-7)
This passage is one of many in Scripture that testifies to the truth that a “fit faith” is a faith that has been tested and refined by all kinds of trials. Affliction is the Almighty’s anvil that forges genuine faith.
Think of some of the great saints in Scripture:
- Abraham’s faith was tried in his willingness to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac.
- Daniel’s faith was tried when he was thrown into the lion’s den for praying to God.
- Mary’s faith was tried when the angel announced that she would be the mother of Jesus.
- Paul’s faith was tried in every possible way as he penned much of the New Testament.
Each one of these saints allowed their faith muscle to be exercised and stretched far beyond the borders of their comfort zone.
An unused muscle is still a muscle, but it atrophies and responds poorly when suddenly summoned to perform. This is just as true for the muscle of our faith. Untested faith is still faith, but how atrophied it can become and how weak in its witness to a watching world!
So . . . how is it with you? How has God been testing your faith in your personal and/or professional life? Let me encourage you to marinate in and meditate on these inspired words from James:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James is telling us exactly what we can expect from a tested and tried faith. When James says, “not lacking anything,” he is saying that the tests and trials we experience bring us to the end of ourselves. Remember that John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30 ESV). It is the testing of our faith that causes us to decrease; at the same time, Jesus increases in our lives.
Where has God been decreasing you so that He could increase? Where has He been strengthening the fitness of your faith? Regardless of where this message finds you today, whether you are in the middle of a storm or enjoying a season of calm, perseverance will finish its work in your life. You have His Word on it!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!