Increase our Faith
While visiting White Sox Spring Training 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 developing skill.”
The apostles were also stretching, running, batting, and catching, not in the lower story but in a spiritual way: the upper story. I know that’s true because they declared 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’re batting the devil’s balls instead of standing strong deflecting them, or even if you’re 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 don’t you deal with him? I didn’t do anything wrong! Why should I have to forgive? He 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 teammates. 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, 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.
… forgive and you will be forgiven; give and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. Luke 6:37b-38 ESV
Hit it out of the park today!