Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)
“I can’t do it!”
“Yes you can!”
“It’s too hard!”
Encouraging my sister to exercise is no easy task. She finds every excuse in the book to avoid it, but I’ve finally managed to get her outside and walking! Every step she takes, I’m there to keep her moving, and when she complains that it’s too hard to walk up hill, I tell her, “When you challenge your body, you make it stronger! One day you’ll walk up this hill without breaking a sweat, but you have to put in the work first.”
As I spoke the words, I realized that what I said applied to my own walk with Christ. When my journey takes me up a mountain, I can easily climb it if my faith in the Lord is strong. But have I put in the work to keep my faith fit?
For a long time, I didn’t even pick up my Bible. During this time I also stopped attending church. I still prayed; I still believed in God, but when my prayers weren’t answered the way I wanted, when everything seemed hopeless, I struggled. I was just like my sister trying to walk up hill; I wanted to give up.
My faith was weak. Without faith, I lacked the strength to overcome life’s obstacles. Then I went to a Bible study for writers. The first time I picked up the Bible to look up a scripture, I felt nervous. It had been a long time, but as my fingers flipped through the pages, I just knew where to look and my confidence grew a fraction. Week by week I felt my faith increase, and with it, I gained the strength to face my troubles and overcome them without giving in to despair.
Everywhere I look there are reminders to eat healthy and exercise to keep my body strong. There aren’t as many reminders to read the Bible to keep my faith strong. When I find myself having doubts about God, I put myself through a spiritual triathlon of reading, writing and meditating on scripture. “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17 NIV).