Spiritual Fitness

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock; and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the Rock.”

Matthew 7:24-25

“If it were not for God, there is no way I would even be standing right now.”

The above quote is from a dear friend, the mother of a large family, who faced a horrific tragedy in her immediate family just two weeks ago. As our family has walked beside this strong Christian family in their storm, I have seen the significance of the scripture above. In Matthew 7, God uses the analogy of a storm, with hurricane force winds and rain that descended upon the house of the wise man. Yet the elements were unable to damage the foundation of the wise man’s house. The wise man’s house was built on the Rock not sand. The foundation was secure in preparation of a possible storm. Jesus used this parable to teach each one of us. He was warning us and telling us to be prepared for life’s storms. He said to build our foundation on faith in Him and His word. He instructed us to live our lives by His ways and to trust only in Him. Then, even if the storm comes, we will be able to stand. This is exactly what my friend said to me. Now, by the grace of God, I am witnessing the power of God in her life and in the lives of her husband and children as they face each day, moment by moment, experiencing so much pain and yet choosing to declare: “God is Good.”

I know the way this family lives their lives. I know they spend time with the Lord, individually and as a family. I know they pray and listen for the Lord’s voice in their decisions to honor Him in all they do. Yet, their lives have been forever changed by a tragedy. Their story exemplifies a truth we must accept: we are God’s people in a broken and hurting world.

I am writing today to encourage each of you to be intentional about building your foundation of faith. God intends for you to be ready when the trials of this world touch your lives. In John 16:33, Jesus says we will have many trials and sorrows here on this earth but to take heart because He has overcome the world. He promises us His peace even in the most tragic situations.

It is important to understand that our God is all knowing, and when the storms of life come, He is beside us, holding us and weeping with us.

Spiritual fitness is being prepared before the storm hits. We must choose to grow in our knowledge of who God is, by reading His word and allowing the Holy Spirit to increase our faith and trust in Him. Then when the storm hits our reaction will be to run to God when our hearts have been broken or even shattered. We will remember that He is our only true help in time of need and we will run boldly to His throne of grace to receive His help (Hebrews 4:16). My dear friend and her family know it is the Lord Himself holding them in their desperate time, sustaining them with His healing and comfort.

In my own life over the last 5 months there have been other heart breaking circumstances. As a family, we have faced loss of life in many ways: A daughter and son-in-law lost a soldier, who was a husband, father, and friend to many. A very close family member had a very serious medical diagnosis, and we waited on healing throughout the summer. We had to say goodbye to our beloved family dog far too soon after he suffered with a brain tumor for more than five months. In each case, because of my solid foundation, I only knew to lean into Jesus. Each trial has reminded me over and over again the faithfulness of God and the tremendous gift He has given us through His Holy Spirit that dwells within us and is our only true source of comfort and peace.

Dear Reader, may you be compelled to keep building your foundation of faith. Don’t let life’s cares rob you of your daily time with the Lord. Be purposeful to spend time in the word of God, talk to God in prayer, and listen for His voice. Most importantly enter daily into His presence with a heart of worship and thanksgiving.

Each of these will help you when trials strike and your foundation may be shaken. However, if you have prepared, your faith in Christ will not let it fall.

Let us be known as the wise man who stands firmly in our faith in Christ, solid and sure even when the worst possible storm effects our lives or those we love.

May our lives shine as a beacon of hope even in suffering, and may we continue to say that He is good.

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