Do you want stronger muscles? You need stress.
“Stress” makes our muscles bigger and stronger. When we lift a heavier load than our muscles have lifted before, a physical process begins to adapt the needed muscles to the new load. Without stress, our muscles are content with their current size and strength. Add stress, and our muscles begin to change to meet the need.
Our spiritual strength is similar. The difficulties of life “stress” our faith. Trials work our faith like heavy loads work our muscles. As we faithfully endure, we grow spiritually stronger. Without difficulty, our faith tends to stagnate.
Do you want stronger faith? You need stress.
Years ago, I noticed that my friends with the strongest and most unshakeable faith were the same friends that had faced many trials and difficulties. A friend with breast cancer. A friend who just lost her mother. A friend whose husband couldn’t find a job.
I also noticed that not only was my life easy, but my faith had also grown stagnant. I continued to study God’s Word and acquire more knowledge, but I knew there was much more. I began to pray that God would refine and strengthen my faith. And He answered!
Many difficulties began to pop up. Our house flooded. Our oldest daughter was stalked by a schoolmate. My mother-in-law was killed in a car accident. We were transferred. All these things happened in the same few months. I had to cling to God, trust Him, and follow closely. The refining process had begun.
Trials work our faith.
The New Testament writers agree. James, Paul, and Peter all taught that God uses trials to refine and develop our faith. Here’s a passage from James’ letter:
2 Dear brothers and sisters,when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-4, NLT
In the midst of trials we learn to lean and depend on God. As He proves Himself powerful, faithful, and reliable our faith in Him grows and strengthens. And because we must cling to Him so closely during difficulties a deeper intimacy develops in our relationship.
Like using our muscles to carry heavier loads make them stronger, the trials of life gives our faith a workout. God will use them to grow and develop your faith so you will be spiritually mature, not lacking anything!
Are you facing trials and difficulties today? How is God using them to grow and strengthen your faith?
Note: Come back Thursday when we’ll talk about how “Trials Prove our Faith Works!”