How silly it would be to lift a five pound weight once, and then to be disappointed in the coming weeks and months that the muscle that you had used to lift that weight on that singular occasion hadn’t grown in size and strength. The fact is that if you want to see long-term results in your muscle mass and strength, you are going to have to work that muscle consistently and in ways that increase its capacity (increasing weight and/or repetitions).
You cannot be a world class athlete without understanding this basic principle about muscles. You were born to be a world class Believer who alters destinies….the destinies of your neighbors, co-workers, city, even nations. Just like a world class athlete who understands how muscles are toned to accomplish physical feats of strength, the believer must understand how to tone their spiritual muscle–faith–to accomplish great spiritual feats.
Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
Faith of the Believer in the character and competence of our great God is the hinge on which history turns.
What is faith?
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. I put my hope in what God says is true and then I begin to apply faith to it.
I speak it, even when the thing hoped for sounds silly to my own ears.
I plan for it, even when my own eyes tell me it’s not happening.
I declare His goodness to remind myself of His character and His trustworthiness, especially when hope is at its most painful apex.
The great faith chapter, Hebrews 11, profoundly challenges us to assess the roots of our faith: By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
In other words, we tend to put our faith in the things that we can feel and touch or predictable patterns based on this physical world. But Hebrews reminds us that the physical came from the spiritual (or unseen) world. The spiritual world is actually more substantial than the physical world, because the physical world was made from that world.
Think about that.
The spiritual world takes precedence over the physical world. When we see cancer leave a body in response to prayer, the muscle of faith served notice to the physical world that the curse of sin and death has been vanquished and that the kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (Rev 11:15). The spiritual world takes precedence over the physical world.
So why don’t we see His Kingdom manifest around us all of the time?
We need to partner with Him. One of the most important things that we can do is exercise our faith muscle on a regular basis, so that we are prepared to partner Him in what He is doing around us everyday.
Here are two aspects and three ways for each to work that muscle.
When it comes to weight lifting, repetition has to do with time. You can’t just lift a weight once and expect lifetime results. You do multiple reps over long periods of time. What you lift each day is important, but doing the lifting over the long haul is just as important. In the same way, you want to exercise your faith over things that are pressing today but that also look to the future.
Short Term: Always have something(s) that you are praying for that is a right now need. I.e., favor for the crucial meeting your wife has at her job on Thursday, wisdom for the new stage that your kids are in that you don’t know how to parent, direction about a new dating relationship, etc.
In Process: Always have something(s) on your prayer list that is in process. I.e., breakthrough for your neighbors to see the goodness of God and be saved, financial goals and dreams that are bigger than you and are Kingdom-based, etc.
Long-Term: Always have something(s) that you are bringing before the Lord with a long-term scope. I.e., your entire household coming to know Jesus, calling out nations and believing for their transformation, God’s guidance, blessing and power to be released in the generations coming from you, etc.
Just like our physical muscles need varying weights to increase in capacity, the light weights increase our muscle strength to prepare them for greater weights. Greater weights keep challenging our muscles to grow and increase in strength. Set faith goals along these lines to increase your faith.
The Nudge. These are things that you are believing the Father for that just need a nudge. They are likely to happen, but you are going to resist the urge to be lazy and let come what may. You are going to take up arms in prayer and see that it’s done.
The Push. These are contested things. These are things that are in the middle of battle in the spiritual realm and there is no guarantee of the outcome unless you and/or the people of God engage and begin to apply their muscle of faith.
The Impossible. These are things where there is no way “but God”. The outcome is a forgone conclusion in everyone’s mind, but it’s going to be bad and will look nothing like God’s Kingdom come and His will being done. These are the instances where hope may be painful, believing God may make you look like a fool, and destinies of whole households, nations, and generations may lie in the balance.
The eyes of the Lord survey the whole earth, looking to strengthen those whose hearts are fully turned to Him (2 Chronicles 16:9).
Exercising our faith turns our hearts toward Him…our hope in Him begins to grow and our capacity to host His presence surges.
What are the things that you are believing the Father for? In what ways have you seen these faith principles play out in your life? Jump into the conversation below!