“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:7 (KJV)
I remember the first time I trained to run my first 5k. I would run as far as I could around the high school track. I felt so defeated if I couldn’t run the entire lap. I didn’t have faith in myself that I could do it. It’s like I gave up on myself before I even started at times.
The Bible teaches us that we are to be growing in our faith. To do this, the Bible says to read God’s word, pray without ceasing, wait on the Lord to accomplish His will, and believe that He has a plan for us. By practicing these spiritual disciplines, we can grow in our faith in Christ. The Lord, however, calls us to go even deeper.
Our Faith grows when stretched. How do Olympic runners stay in top physical condition? Their muscles had to be exercised, and as they were exercised they were stretched, and as they were stretched they grew stronger. Something we know about the process is that it’s painful. The same occurs with faith. If growing physically stronger was easy everyone would be walking around looking like champion athletes. The Bible says in 2 Thessalonians 1:3 that the believers’ faith was growing “exceedingly” because of the trials they were enduring. Everyone will experience hard times. The promise of God’s Word is that as our faith is stretched it also grows stronger.
Through time, my faith was stretched and I eventually was able to not only complete one lap, but four laps (an entire mile). I have to admit, it was tough and a bit painful at times, but I was finally able to reach my goal. And guess what? I didn’t stop there, I stretched myself and through prayer and perseverance, God gave me faith and the strength to go even further.
In our spiritual walk this faith process can also be painful. More importantly, God knows it’s painful. However, we have a reward; these trials remind us we are worthy of the kingdom of God (2 Thessalonians 1:5). If we suffer, Jesus understands, for His suffering on our behalf was greater than ours. In Him we find the strength, and the faith, to carry on and run forward in victory.