Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sister, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
The Olympic athletes can give us great insight on how faith works — faith that is active and vital.
As children, many of us have visions of ourselves as great Olympic superstars. Maybe we will be the next Bruce Jenner, Mark Spitz, or Michael Phelps. We have a belief in our own ability to be as great as one of the athletes the world watches in amazement.
But — not many of us work at it beyond our shallow belief in ourselves. Not many spend time practicing and struggling to improve our athletic skills and abilities. As a result, we stay the same as everyone else — far from our idea of being the next Olympic Gold Medalist.
Move this example into the world of faith:
Many of us, at some point, have a faith in God. We believe He exists — but we don’t exercise our faith in Him. When opposition or some obstacle comes along, we falter — and our faith wanes.
Faith is like a muscle — it needs exercise to grow strong.
Those who have an active and vibrant faith have it because of exercise. When those same oppositions and obstacles came along, they worked through them, and their faith came out stronger on the other side.
Hebrews 11 give us a great list of some “Olympic” stars of faith: Able, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets . . .
Just take a few minutes and think about what each of them faced in their lives. You will see great obstacles and mighty opposition but, because of their faith, they did not give in — they overcame
Now, back to athletes: They practice and struggle to develop their skills and abilities. When opposition and obstacles come in their way, they are able to overcome them — often inspiring us in the process — only because of their previous exercise and diligence in training themselves.
As we go through life, we must understand that our faith is only as strong as we make it. If we lean on our faith, and exercise it, we will develop a faith strong enough to hold us up.
How do we build our faith? — Immerse yourself in God’s Word.
Romans 10:17: Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
The Father has given us what we need to be strong enough to face whatever comes. We need to learn to build our faith in Him — not the world — not other men — not ourselves!
Hebrews 11:1: Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
James 2:26: As a body without works is dead, so faith without works is dead.