Week 2: Exercising Our Faith Muscles

Read: 1 Timothy 4:7-12

When I ask people what they need more of in their lives when it comes to their Christian journey, most people will invariably mention “faith.” And why not? Faith is the catalyst for helping us believe what we say we believe. A growing faith spurs us on to further trust God with greater issues in our lives.

But it’s a childlike faith – one that has yet to conclude that something is impossible for God – that truly transforms our lives. Only praying ceremoniously for God’s help about a situation that we think will work out anyway is not a life grounded in faith at all. It’s anything but childlike.

Fortunately, I have a daughter in my house – aptly named Faith – who reminds me of what it means to believe God can do anything. And I mean anything. It’s uncomfortable at times, but it stretches me, reminding me to exercise that atrophied faith muscle and trust God with everything.

I recently had a friend fall ill with an aggressive type of cancer. He called me on a Sunday to meet for coffee later in the week. By Friday afternoon, I was sitting at his bedside watching his body shut down. That night, he passed away.

The next morning when I learned what happened, I fought back the tears. I was with my two daughters at the zoo and didn’t want to spoil their good fun. But my Faith, the little compassionate person that she is, noticed I was upset and asked what was wrong. So, I told her. She knew my friend and was quite fond of him.

“It’s OK, Daddy,” she said. “Let’s just ask God to bring him back to life.”

My initial reaction was to smile. I wanted to pat her on the head and say, “Honey, it doesn’t work that way.” But I didn’t. I would’ve been lying to her. Who am I to say what God can and cannot do? What kind of loving father would I be to steal the one thing from her that I so desperately need for myself – childlike faith?

The fact that I so quickly dismissed her comment as an innocent one made me wonder just how much my faith had atrophied. Intellectually, I knew my friend wasn’t coming back to life. But who’s to say he couldn’t?

As we grow older in life, our innocence is strip mined by evil in this world. Sometimes, evil takes our innocence with force. Other times, evil slowly and silently steals it. The apostle Paul knew this and warned Timothy:

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).

As a Christian, we need that innocence again when it comes to our faith. We need to pick the mountain – not the molehill – when it comes to asking God to help us move something. It’s the only way to keep our faith in shape. For when we ask God to do the impossible – whether he chooses to  do it or not – our innocence begins to return. We start trusting Him like a child again, realizing that He is control and always knows what is best for our lives.

Pray: Father, thank you for the things You have done in my life through your love and grace. Please help me to put my faith in you for every trial and challenge that comes my way today. Let me see You do the impossible. Amen.

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