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faith

An Atrophy of Faith


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A Brave New World

An amazing Brazilian couple we’ve recently made friends with came over to our house last night for dinner. Monday evening isn’t exactly the usual time of the week for having friends over but it suited our guests who have a very hectic working schedule that involves them both regularly working into the early hours of the morning – via pretty unsociable patterns – and Monday was a day off. Having only previously met and talked briefly at church, we were about two minutes into conversation over dinner when it dawned on me that this beautiful couple sitting opposite us were mighty in faith!

About a year ago they had made the decision to radically relocate their lives, along with their two children, from Brazil to Scotland simply because God had asked them to. Now we were enjoying dinner together as they both shared stories about the goodness and the power of God in their lives. With all of the many challenges you can imagine in moving from one country to another (employment, schooling, food, weather, culture, language, friends etc etc), they are now prayerfully waiting on the Father to show them how He wants to use them in this brave new world.

Faith is a Muscle

In the natural world of exercise and health, when you regularly participate in resistance training your muscles get bigger (hypertrophy); when you don’t get involved in said resistance training your muscles waste and become weak and small (atrophy).

I had worked in the world of fitness and health for more than ten years so when my new friend used this phrase (faith is a muscle) to explain his understanding of the key difference between the Brazilian and UK churches, it struck me powerfully. But mainly it registered forcefully with me because it was a phrase that had come out of the mouth of a believer who was truly living by faith in front of my very eyes!

It was also because I am someone who does regularly lift weights to keep in good physical condition that this metaphor had a profound impact on me: it’s all very well training and looking after your physical muscles but if you’re not exercising your muscle of faith you’re weak on the inside. I hate the idea of being weak and flabby in the physical so how much more horrible is the thought of being a weak and flabby spiritual man of faith?

Primed by the miraculous, awe-inspiring stories of our friends, I wanted to start exercising faith there and then!

Comfortable Christianity

Thinking about this simple analogy for the spiritual life of faith, how healthy is your faith, would you say?

Chat to someone about it.

Do you feel like you exercise your faith regularly or perhaps you feel a little out of shape?

People don’t exercise in the natural for lots of reasons many of which are often very valid but perhaps God is asking you to talk to Him about starting to exercise your faith in a new way?

What does the Bible say?

“…faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

Romans 10:17

Why not drop us a line or leave a comment to continue the conversation?

 

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“Do You Trust Me?”


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When David Brent repeatedly asked the Swindon lot, ‘do you trust me?’, we laugh because of course they didn’t! Brent is the last person in the world that you would find yourself trusting. The Swindon crew’s resounding silence tells the story:  ‘No, we do not trust you” – even when Brent makes them say that they do.

One particular verse has kept me sane recently from Romans, (15:13). It goes like this:

“May the God of hope FILL you with all JOY and PEACE as you TRUST in Him so that you may OVERFLOW with HOPE by the power of the HOLY SPIRIT”

I love this verse for many reasons. One of them is the flowing exuberance of experience that Paul is writing with and another is the word AS.

This tiny word points to such a crucial principle in our lives of faith – i.e. that actually in the process of trusting we experience the joy and peace and overflowing hope of the God of hope who pours into us to the point of filling up and the point of overflowing. As we trust we are filled by the power of the Holy Spirit with hope, joy and peace.

Again, Isaiah 26:3 – “For You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in You. This steadfastness of mind is to do with the trusting of God’s reality in our lives, by the Holy Spirit, above all other things…all other temptations, trials and difficulties…the things of situations and contexts that press in and flex their muscles around us so that this word AS might be done away with, the very link with the hope we crave.

If we don’t trust we become like the Swindon lot and our God is dishonoured. Even when we say we trust He sees if we truly do. When we choose to trust, despite it all, He is honoured and we know the link to limitless and supernatural joy, peace and hope.

Our great Abba longs, longs, longs for us to experience this hope, joy and peace and to overflow into testimony of it, not just theoretically agree and nod our heads.

“Do you trust me?”