Increase our Faith
While visiting the White Sox Spring Training at Camelback Ranch my husband and I enjoyed watching the team prepare for the season. We observed the players stretching, running, batting, and catching. The team is strengthening and sharpening their skills for the big games ahead. I think if you would ask each one, “Would you like to increase your skills?” The answer would undoubtedly be, of course. “Why do you think we spend months here in training? We want to improve and it takes hard, sometimes monotonous, work.”
I think the apostles must have felt similar as they were stretching, running, batting, and catching, in a spiritual way. I know that’s true because they declared it to Jesus in Luke 17:5, “Lord, increase our faith!” When your faith in God’s promises are being stretched, when you feel like you’re running through life, when you sense you are batting the devil’s balls instead of standing strong with your spiritual shield deflecting the balls, or even if you are catching some here and there; do you want to increase your faith for the big game? If you’re a child of God, I know you do. The funny thing about the apostles’ comment is the context of the statement. Jesus had just spoken to them about forgiveness.
So watch yourselves! “If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.” (Luke 17:3, 4 NLT)
Don’t you cringe when you read verses like that? Really Lord? Doesn’t that make me a doormat? Why doesn’t God deal with that person? I didn’t do anything wrong! Why should I have to forgive? They should change!
I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. ” (Mark 11:24, 25 NLT)
God is speaking to you. “Lord, increase my faith,” we say, and God answers, “OK, (does God really say OK?) forgive him/her… again.” Come on, man, not again! Yes, again. When your favorite team is training they don’t throw the ball once and they’re done for the day. They repeatedly throw and catch with their teammate. They hit the balls over and over again with their TEAMMATES. Did you get that? We’re in this game together. We’ll sometimes miss the throw, we’ll sometimes strike out but we continue our training, stretching our faith, running the bases, increasing our endurance, and all the other sports metaphors you can think of. Jesus’ point is unmistakeable.
Who do you need to forgive today? Don’t swing and miss, hit it out of the park! I’m cheering you on and so is your divine Coach.