If you hit the gym regularly, you must have an interest in toning or growing your muscles. Did you realize that growing your faith is very similar to growing muscles? I am not a gym rat and my muscles reflect that. However, if you were to compare my muscles to a body builder, you may have a hard time believing we have the exact same muscles. That’s right both of us were born with exactly 650 skeletal muscles.
So why does The Rock look dramatically different than I do if we have the exact same muscles? Because he has worked on them! He has put them to the test. There are three things that spur on muscle growth. Tension, damage and metabolic stress – inflammation around the muscle. Individuals who frequent the gym invite those muscle triggers on a regular basis, but in life we try to steer clear of tension, damage and stress.
However, like muscles, when we are pushed past the strain of what we have previously adapted to our faith gets a workout as well. Each time we are faced with new struggles, it is an opportunity for us to grow in some element of our faith. If we are never tested or pushed beyond where we are, our faith can become stagnant. Paul writes, “However for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all long suffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on him for everlasting life.” 1 Timothy 1:16. In this verse Paul acknowledges that there was mercy just for him, but much of the reason he was being tested was for the benefit of others witnessing his faith in Christ.
While tension and stress initiate muscle growth, actual muscle growth occurs when the body is at rest. The same is true of our faith. It is when we bring those trails to our heavenly father in those moments alone that our faith actually grows. It is the time of rest and repair at the feet of Jesus that strengthens us in our faith. Every believer must regularly experience that time of rest whether we are in a time of adversity or not.
Lastly, the hardest part of seeing results in the gym is maintaining a consistent healthy diet. Two people can have the exact same workout routine, but if one eats healthy and the other eats donuts every day, the one eating donuts is limited in how far he will go. Our faith is affected by our intake. Those whose intake is consistent with the teaching of Christ will see their faith soar. What is your intake? What are you allowing in visually, audibly, in your behaviors and thought patterns?
What we are feeding ourselves matters. We are called to live a holy and righteous life before God. Like that donut, the things that are bad for us sure are pleasurable, aren’t they? They may be pleasurable momentarily, but spiritually they are holding us back. “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling of the call you have received.” Ephesians 4:1.