I recently joined the worship team at church, and realized that I do not know many of the contemporary Christian songs... DOH! While I enjoy the challenge of sight reading every Sunday, it's better to actually know some of the music, especially when you're on a mic in front of the congregation... So I've been listening to the local Christian Rock station, Spirit 105.3. While I tend to get incredibly sapped-out by some of the "feel good" stories and DJ's, and while the "family friendly sound" of the child laughing makes me think more Children of the Corn instead of Children of God, I really enjoy the music.
Today they were talking about giving thanks, and what were callers thankful for. And I'm not quite sure how this story ended up there, but the morning DJ was talking about someone who had been in a 2nd or 3rd world country, spreading the word of God, and when he left the people hosting him said, "We're praying for you." He turned to them and asked, "What are you praying for?" And they were silent... eventually, they answered him that they were praying for persecution, so he could become stronger in his faith.
That almost seems like a completely horrible thing to do, pray for hard times so someone can become stronger! But then the DJ said something along the lines of how, in America especially, our Faith was flabby. Indignantly I said to myself, "Ha, my faith isn't flabby, look at the personal struggles I've survived over the last 15 years!" But really? I think all of us have our little flabby-faith "love handles".
Just like any other workout, start simple- a little prayer here & there. Start with a new routine- give thanks as you brush your teeth every morning, say a prayer for a safe commute as you buckle your seat belt. Eventually you'll find that you don't have to remind yourself to do these things, you'll just do them. Then step up to the next, Spiritual-Cardio. Be there for someone else while they're having hard times... ask if you can pray with them, pray for them, and commit to doing it every single day. Even take it a step further, see if there are any peer-support programs in your area! By helping others to carry the load they bear, you're helping to strengthen your faith and love for God, and God's children!
Be that spotter than helps someone lift their new max-weight on bench press - quite literally help to lighten the load on their heart!!!