Exercising My Faith

James 5:15 The prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.

She was in a place of distress from which she was not certain she could recover. She called her pastor but he didn't return her call. She told her small group but they didn't know what to say. She felt completely alone until one day a friend took the time to just stop and acknowledge her pain and cover it in a faith-filled prayer of encouragement and strength. The road to recovery was long and marked with many setbacks but knowing that even one would walk alongside her and believed she would be whole again was enough to keep her walking.

This morning's reading is 1 Thessalonians 3. The Thessalonican church has apparently expressed concern over the magnitude and frequency of trials which Paul is facing. Paul spends this chapter reassuring them that his faith is standing firm, in no small part because of the joy their faith in Christ gives him.

Coming alongside another during a time of pain can be emotionally draining and faith challenging. I personally find it far easier to deliver a casserole and my well wishes than to allow myself to become emotionally invested in the difficult season of another. Like me, you may greatly desire to aid your friends and loved ones during seasons of suffering but aren't exactly sure what to do...so you load your car up with chocolate chip cookies and hope for the best. In today's passage, Paul outlines what someone actually needs when problems are mounting: to be encouraged and strengthened in their faith (Verse 2).

  • Encouraged - Most frequently when someone is facing difficulty, they are encouraged with platitudes such as "You can do it," or "You'll make it through." These phrases are well-meaning and delivered from the purest of hearts but unfortunately they fail to meet someone's real need. Their need is not to know how strong they are but how faithful God is. It is God alone that will deliver them. Do they have a responsibility to follow the sound advice of their doctor, financial counselor or perhaps marriage counselor? Absolutely. However, it is God alone that heals. The best investment we can make in our health, finances or marriage is to spend time with the Deliverer and those who truly encourage us to know Him.
  • Strengthened - I am often taken aback how quickly a surgical patient will be up and walking. In recent years, the medical community has come to realize that the path to rapid healing is one marked by movement not immobility. In the same way, faith if not exercised become weak and flaccid. Our prayer life becomes earmarked with "I think" or "It's possible" rather than "I know" statements. Will I be a friend who believes the unbelievable? Can I be a confidant who prays the impossible? The best gift I can give a struggling friend or family member is rock solid faith.

Jesus, thank you for this precious lesson. This morning I have encouraged and strengthened my own faith by sitting in these quiet moments with the Deliverer. Now I leave this place ready to encourage and strengthen the faith of another. I may still bring over a casserole but for dessert I'm serving up rock solid faith.


  1. I like this... "Their need is not to know how strong they are but how faithful God is." If we really believe "I can do all things through Christ who Strengthens me," then we need to start living it! I love that new Matthew West song "Strong Enough." The message is basically that we don't have to be strong enough...because we aren't suppose to be. We are suppose to rely on God's strength and not our own! I like this post!
    Kelli (from your critique group)

  2. Thanks Kelli! I remember when I first learned Philippians 4:13. I was like 10 or something. Fast forward thirty years and I'm still learning each what it means to draw my strength from Christ. God's Word is a bottomless well of comfort daily providing what we need.


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