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“STRENGTH TRAINING” – April 5

April 5, 2013

“…O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their  hearts,…” 2 Chronicles 6:14

English: Cycling towards Thorverton. good leve...I am a little sore and fatigued this morning.  Yesterday, I did my own little triathlon throughout the day.  I started the day with a 3 mile run and ended it with a 1,100 yd swim, followed by a 33 mile bike ride.  This morning, I am reminded that building and conditioning muscle can be a bit uncomfortable.

However, we all know what happens to muscles that are not worked.  They become weak.  If your muscles are weak, then you cannot do all of  the things that your mind may want to do.  Therefore, I do not regret yesterday, even though it has made this morning uncomfortable.  I know that my discomfort will pass and I will be stronger for the exertion.Finally

As I try to find a comfortable position in my chair, I wonder how similar muscles are to faith.  The Bible describes faith in ways very similar to muscles – it can be strong or weak; it can grow or stagnate; it can be small or large.

When I read Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple, I was encouraged by his faith.  It seems like he got it but then we know the rest of the story.  Solomon did not finish well.

I don’t think that Solomon’s manner of finishing is wholly unique.  I know of older believers who seemed to have had a very active faith when they were younger but are finishing in a very weak and indifferent manner.  It seemed like their faith was strong and dynamic when their kids were in their home but now that their nest is empty that strength is not as evident.  Their Sunday mornings are now spent in relaxation and recreation when they previously would have insisted that the family go to church.  Their affinities for vices appear more pronounced now that watching eyes are not as evident.  Their discussions span a vast array of interests and experiences but interest in the things of the Spirit seem lacking.

I wonder how well they are finishing.

I wonder because I see the opposite in others.  I see many with gray hair and grandchildren who speak often of their Lord.  I know of some whose bodies have failed them but they are faithful in every prayer ministry that is available.  I see bent backs supported by walkers mingling on Sunday morning being an encouragement to all who they can reach.

They seem to be finishing very well.

I think that they are finishing well because their faith is strong.  A weak faith will not result in a strong finish.  I want to finish strong. I want to grow old like those brothers and sisters I see who are finishing well.  They are the example of who I want to be when my hair is gray and my body cannot follow the commands of my mind.

Paul wrote, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:10-11)  Spiritual strength comes from continually building the muscle of faith.  Just like muscles, we build our faith by exercising it.  Faith is exercised when we:Armour IMG_5687

Fasten on the belt of truth;

Put on the breastplate of righteousness;

Put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace;

Take up the shield of faith;

Take up the helmet of salvation;

Take the sword of the Spirit;

Pray at all times in the Spirit;

Keep alert with all perseverance;

Make supplication for the saints;

Proclaim the mystery of the gospel;

Strength in the Lord comes from action.

All of the activity of putting on the armor of God builds our faith.  It is when we stop putting on the armor of God when we become susceptible to the schemes of the devil and we don’t finish well.  Putting on the armor of God is going to cause some discomfort and maybe even some spiritual soreness.  That discomfort is evidence that you are exercising your faith, which should be encouraging because that means your faith is getting stronger through the power of the Spirit and that means you are finishing well.

You will never regret the effort that you expend in suiting up in the full armor of God; the discomfort will pass and your faith will be stronger due to the exertion.  It is that strength, through the Spirit, that will carry us to the end in a manner pleasing to our Father.

That is how the good and faithful servants will hear – “well done”.

PRAYER: Lord, I want to finish well.  I want to hear, “well done, good and faithful servant.”  Lord, give me a heart that desires the discomfort and fatigue of faith building.  Build my faith through your Spirit.  Make it strong in order that I may persevere well unto the end of my days.  Lord, keep my hope in You and You alone, for your glory alone.  Amen

8 comments

  1. The question of the elder saints ending their races indifferently and self-focused has saddened me more lately. But I know for me, I must make sure I communicate to them that they are necessary and wanted…which is convicting. Thanks for posting!


  2. Thank you for this devotional and the illustration from physical fitness


  3. Maybe the fragile just need more sabbaths then one day a week. That is one of the things I dont like about “religion”; I only have sabbath their way at any given moment. Sabbath requires meditation, rest, silence, and space to listen. Sometimes, I may just feel the need on midnight Tuesday for that eye to eye connection and to listen. My sabbath requires body language and verbal communication with it before I listen.


  4. Thanks JD, even faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain. Now that’s pretty strong!


  5. Terrific analogy! My body is not willing any more, but my faith is growing. I drag my oxygen tank to church on Sundays and am grateful to be able to do so. The armor is ready…when I remember to put it on. I have lapses like everyone else. This is a motivation for me. Thanks!


    • Amen Carol! – may you keep continue to be salt and light and fully prepared to serve our Lord in all the places He leads you.
      God Bless!
      JD


  6. Excellent analogy to physical fitness. I’ve heard it said that we must daily visit the “Faith Gym” if our spiritual fitness is to strengthen. Thanks for sharing this reminder and challenge with us.


  7. Action in deed and Word . . . reaps the strength needed to run the good race. The armor of God is a fitting running suit and will keep help us to finish well. I wrote a poem “Flex Your Faith Muscle” and I will post this along with your post.

    ~ Thank you for shinning His light on us and God Bless you ~



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