Concealed Carry: 5 Ways Faith Is Similar To Concealed Carry

Faith & The Outdoors Issue #2

http://larryshankle.com/concealed-carry/

I’ve been interested in getting my concealed carry license for quite some time now. Many people that I consider close friends have their permit and carry their weapons regularly.

There are many different views on this topic, and admittedly, it’s a hot one. Some people are dead set against concealed carry. They don’t understand why someone…anyone…would want to wear a gun.

Being raised in the south, I have an entirely different opinion. I was raised around guns and gun ownership. Some of the best memories from my teenage years were coming home from school in the afternoon and immediately going outside to target practice.
I’ve put more holes in tin cans than I could ever remember. Shooting, for me, was a relaxing sport that I could enjoy outdoors. Since I love getting alone by myself to think, shooting my guns offered me a reason to get outside and think. Every week I mowed the yard to make a little extra money to purchase more ammunition.

Many of you grew up the same way I did. You understand and respect guns. You know their joy and their force. The opportunity to get your concealed carry permit, means you can feel a sense of protection; not so much for yourself, but for those you love. You want to protect them.

As a believer, there are several similarities between your faith in God and the concealed carry of a weapon.

Five ways faith is similar to concealed carry

You have spiritual weapons at your disposal.

Here’s what the Bible says about your spiritual weapons:

2 Corinthians 10:4 NKJV
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,

As a believer, you possess spiritual weapons that have the power to help you overcome every stronghold in your life. They live inside you. These weapons conceal themselves in your heart until you need them.
When you face difficulties and circumstances, you can unholster your weapons and use them to defeat your situations. God gives you this concealed carry permit, so determine to use it the next time you have a struggle.

You have a power that lives inside of you.

Isaiah 40:29 NLTse
29 He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.

When you trust in God, he will empower you. God’s power lives concealed inside of your heart. Through faith, you use the power of God to overcome every obstacle you face. Even though you might not feel empowered, you are. God has given you everything you need to live a life of victory.

You have the ability to be safe and secure, no matter your environment.

Isaiah 54:17 NKJV
17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord.

When Jesus is the Lord of your life, you are safe and secure. There is no reason to fear any weapons of the enemy or difficulties of the world. God is your protector. You can have peace in your heart no matter the circumstances you might be in at the moment.

You have something that many people refuse to see the need for.

Just like some people don’t understand the need for a concealed carry permit, many also don’t see the need to have faith in God. They don’t realize all the benefits that a relationship with God will provide, but believe me; there are awesome benefits for every believer.

Here’s what the Bible says about benefits:

Psalm 103:2–6 NKJV
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
3 Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord executes righteousness And justice for all who are oppressed.

You don’t have to reveal what you’ve got, people will see it in you and on you.

If you have a concealed carry permit, it is unlikely that you are going to promote the fact of it to everyone you meet; but this is where being a Christian differs. You don’t have to tell everyone that you are a believer. Why? Because they will be able to SEE the difference in your life. Christians can’t help but show the love of God because they’ve been changed.

Don’t try to conceal your Christianity. Let it show for the world to see because they desperately need what you’re packing!

Other Issues of Faith & The Outdoors:

3 Powerful Secrets You Can Learn From Bowhunting

Faith Building Challenge

Sometimes we know we need a little push, but we can’t seem to do it on our own. My five-day faith building challenge is the little push you need to jump start your faith. In it, you will find easy, actionable, and strategic steps to help you build your faith. I would love the opportunity to help you along the way. To join the challenge, sign up below, and I’ll send you an email to get you started.

http://larryshankle.com/fbc

Perfectionist: Quit Trying To Be Perfect

Three Thoughts To Help You Conquer Your Pursuit Of Perfection

Perfectionist, there is no such thing as perfect.

Often we are tempted to look at other people and compare our self to them. Their glaring weaknesses are never what show up in our thoughts, but rather we see all the spectacular wins and successes they seem to acquire.
Perfection gets even more elusive when you couple it with a comparison. However, today I want you to know that there is a freedom you can live in…Freedom from being perfect.

You were never perfect, to begin with. Your flaws and mistakes are absolutely part of you, but in Jesus, all of those qualities disappear. God covers you with the blood of Jesus Christ his Son, and you become a new person.

I know you probably remember the verse I am about to quote, but I ask you to please read it again with fresh eyes.

2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Perfectionism has to bow to the new life found in Jesus Christ. The person you never thought you could live up to being, the one with perfectionist tendencies, is dead, and a brand new person had breathed in the breath of life when you became a Christian. Jesus takes away the old and brings in the new, and thank God for it.

The key to winning your battle with perfectionism is to stay in Christ. You have to keep yourself rooted and grounded in him. Don’t slip away from your relationship with him.
The most valuable qualities you will ever possess, find their way to the surface through your relationship with Jesus. He recreates you and forms you into the person you were created to be in the first place, and it is not a perfectionist.
It is likely that when you think of yourself, you think of the imperfections and all the qualities about yourself that you do not like. However, if you are a Christian, I am asking you to stop thinking about yourself and set your eyes on Jesus. He is the author and finisher of your faith, and he can build up a new set of qualities in your life based on the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Here are a couple of things a perfectionist should think about this week:

1.) Perfection is not possible so quit striving for it.

Humans are flawed. We make mistakes. We fall short of the goal. Jesus came to span the space between YOUR best effort and God’s creative power and purpose in your life. You cannot get there on your own. It will require the power of God in your life. Quit trying to be a perfectionist and start living a simpler life by following God’s path.

2.) God never expected perfection from you in the first place.

Even though you are a perfectionist, God knows you are not perfect. He understands your weaknesses. He sees when you put forth your best effort, even though your effort cannot reach the goal line. However, unlike the world, God does not expect you to be perfect. In fact, he knows you cannot be.
[clickToTweet tweet=”God never expected your to be perfect. #perfectionism” quote=”God never expected your to be perfect. ” theme=”style3″]
You are clothed with perfection when you put on Jesus Christ as Lord of your life. Perfection is not something you can be; it is something you put on. You put on the perfection of Jesus. You live in him and walk in him with the complete understanding that he never sinned and never made a mistake. You allow him to guide and direct your life. When you do these simple things, the pressure leaves, and peace starts to grow in your heart and mind.

3.) Getting to the goal line in life takes one simple quality. Faithfulness.

One time Jesus spoke a parable about money. In the parable, he compared the efforts of those who had received a degree of money to manage. Those who had received the money were expected to show effort and try to increase it through wise investments.
One of the money managers was afraid. He thought he would lose the money his master gave him if he invested it. So he just hid it in the ground. At least he would not lose it, right? Wrong.
When the master returned from his journey and inquired with each money manager, he found that the first two men had increased his money through wise investments, but when he came to the third, the master was angry because the man had no effort to show. What the master said is eye-opening: “You should have at least put my money in the bank so it could gain some interest.” (paraphrase)
Listen, banks do not provide excellent interest. The master was not looking to become wealthy from the effort of those he put in charge of his money. The master was already rich. He was giving his men a test of FAITHFULNESS. What would these men decide to DO with the opportunity they had received? Their faithfulness was the quality being tested, not their skill.
The master was only looking for faithfulness. Listen to what he said to those who put forth effort:

Matthew 25:21 NKJV – His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

Well done.

Who had done well? The ones who were faithful.

He called them “good” and “faithful.” They were not good because of what they did. They were good because they were the master’s servants. However, faithfulness was THEIR choice. They chose to be faithful in the little things, and because of their choice, the master was pleased.
God is not looking for perfection from you. He is looking for faithfulness. Quit being a perfectionist. God would much rather have a person who makes mistakes, admits them, and receives guidance or forgiveness, than an individual who strives for a perfection they can never reach on their own.
What will you be? Perfect or faithful? Perfection on your own merits is an illusion, but you can choose to be faithful.

Here’s a growing list of articles, posts, and resources to help you build strong faith. If you grow your faith, it will be a key to living an effective life. Enjoy!

Faith Building Challenge

Sometimes we know we need a little push, but we can’t seem to do it on our own. My five-day faith building challenge is the little push you need to jump start your faith. In it, you will find easy, actionable, and strategic steps to help you build your faith. I would love the opportunity to help you along the way. To join the challenge, sign up below, and I’ll send you an email to get you started.

http://larryshankle.com/fbc

Spiritual Warfare: How To Fight And Win

Four Strategies To Overcome Your Spiritual Battles

http://larryshankle.com/spiritual-warfare

Spiritual warfare is tough. It tends to press you and push your spiritual limits, and every spiritual battle requires faith to overcome. Now, I hesitate a little to write on this subject because some Christians take it too far. They see a devil behind every bush.

I don’t think it is right or healthy to focus day in and day out on what the devil is doing. Rather, your time and effort are much more productive if you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and the plan of God for your life. He will direct you into the perfect path your life is meant to follow. Jesus will empower you to overcome in this life, and he will prepare you to live beyond this life.

Let me be clear: God is greater than all your enemies.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Let me be clear: God is greater than all your enemies. #Faith #spiritualwarfare #Jesus” quote=”Let me be clear: God is greater than all your enemies.” theme=”style2″]

There is no cosmic battle between God and the devil; there’s simply no contest. The devil is a created being who has his days numbered. Jesus defeated Satan ultimately and finally on the cross.

Winning at spiritual warfare will require that you have a firm grasp on these basic concepts. Otherwise your enemy will exploit your weaknesses and bring in fear.

With all this being said, every believer will face spiritual warfare in his or her life at some point. These battles are real, and they do have the potential to derail your spiritual progress…or worse. You need to take your battles seriously. If you have never faced something that qualifies as spiritual warfare, hold on, because sooner or later you will.

What qualifies as spiritual warfare?

Anything that brings doubt

Doubt will do its best to keep you from receiving all the good things God has for you. The enemy of your soul has a chief aim, and it is to throw your faith off course. However, I’m not saying that every little doubt is an indication of spiritual warfare. Questioning God about something isn’t the same thing as doubt. Sometimes your questions actually reveal your faith. When you firmly believe that God is going to do something in your life, and then it seems like he doesn’t do it, questions are the natural and normal response.

Doubt is different than questions. Doubt believes God cannot help you. It believes that your prayers won’t be answered. Doubt will make you hopeless in your situation. This sort of doubt is a form of spiritual warfare that openly attacks your faith. Faith is what moves God to action in your life, so doubt is a spiritual attack designed to keep you from the things God clearly intends for you to possess. Things like peace, joy, love, strength, and security are the objects of an attack on your faith. Doubt seeks to keep you from experiencing these qualities.

Anything that makes you want to quit

If you have ever felt the overwhelming urge just to give up, then you have experienced spiritual warfare designed to make you want to quit. The enemy wants you to quit on your relationships, so he will try to convince you that your friends, your spouse, or maybe your boss don’t need you or want you anymore. People quit on their relationships every single day. They quit jobs and marriages and churches but feel no freedom after they do so. The end goal of your enemy is to get you to quit on life. Whether that means you are taking your life, or just fading away into nothingness, the enemy is satisfied as long as you are out of the picture.

God didn’t design you to be a quitter, rather, you were created to be an overcomer. You are meant to press through spiritual warfare and experience victory.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#God didn’t design you to be a #quitter, rather, you were created to be an overcomer. #faith ” quote=”God didn’t design you to be a quitter, rather, you were created to be an overcomer.” theme=”style3″]

Anything that tempts you

So the most obvious form of spiritual warfare is temptation. Being tempted to disobey God is as old as humanity. When you are presented with something that tempts you, the answer is not to fight, but to flee. Whenever you begin to fight with temptation, you are keeping yourself near the source for a longer period. Christians are supposed to run away from the things that tempt them and run towards a life that closely follows Jesus.

Temptation can be tricky, however, because not every temptation comes as a result of spiritual warfare. The Bible is clear about this.

James 1:14–17 NLTse
14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.
15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.
16 So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.
17 Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.

Anything considered an attack on your character

When you experience emotions that come as a result of accusation or slander, you can be sure it is the devil’s work. Scripture calls Satan the accuser. I believe every spirit that works on satan’s team also uses his tactics.

Character attacks are spiritual warfare, whether these attacks come from outside sources like those you love and work with, or whether they just come from thoughts in your own mind.

The enemy wants to undermine the Godly qualities in your life. He will speak in your ear if you allow him to, and he will tell you how terrible you are. Condemnation and shame in a Christian’s life are the results of character attacks that we latch on to and believe.

These things are just a few forms of spiritual warfare. Certainly, there are much more.

What opens the door to attack?

For sure, the enemy doesn’t need any particular reason to attack you. Spiritual warfare happens in your life simply because the enemy wants to diminish your faith and witness, but there are a few things that can open the door and make attacking you easier.

Unforgiveness

Those who harbor evil thoughts about someone else is opening the door to the enemy. They are essentially allowing him freedom to come and go in their life as he wishes.

  • If you resent someone, you need to forgive them and close the door.
  • If you hate someone, you need to forgive them and close the door.
  • If you harbor hurt from someone, you need to forgive them and close the door.

Unforgiveness will rob you of joy and peace. It will leave the door of your heart open for the satan’s attack. Not only will he attack you, but the open door unforgiveness provides will allow the enemy time and space to plant more bitter seeds in your heart. These seeds will grow and eventually overtake your heart.

Forgive people you need to forgive even if they don’t respond, don’t listen, or don’t care. Forgiveness is about you not them.

Fear

Fear will always open you up to experience spiritual warfare in your life. Scripture says that “God has not given us a spirit of fear.” Fear does not come from God.

Some forms of fear are:

  • Constant worry about anything and everything.
  • Perfectionism that drives you to exhaustion because you are afraid you won’t be good enough.
  • Anger that derives from your fear of losing control.
  • Selfishness which is the fear of not having enough.

Fear doesn’t come from God, so remove it from your life. How do you do that? Again, I’ll defer to Scripture. The Bible says, “perfect love casts out fear.” The way to overcome fear is to lean into the love of God. When you have a deeply settled belief that God loves you, it will make fear vanish along with all its forms.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Fear will always open you up to experience #spiritualwarfare in your life. #Jesus #faith #nofear” quote=”Fear will always open you up to experience spiritual warfare in your life.” theme=”style2″]

What does NOT qualify as spiritual warfare?

Just as important as it is to recognize actual spiritual warfare, we must also understand what it is not.
Like I said at the start, some people see a devil behind every bush. This is a flawed perspective that will actually open the door for an attack in your life. So to understand what does not qualify, let me offer some examples.

Your water heater breaks down. This is not necessarily a spiritual battle. The devil probably didn’t take the time to find some way of breaking your water heater. Routine maintenance is a part of life no matter who you are.

You caught a cold. Now, I may get some pushback on this one, but I don’t believe the fact that you caught a cold is a form of spiritual warfare. Are there sicknesses that do qualify? Yes. Absolutely. Jesus paid the price for our healing with the stripes on his back and through his death on the cross. Anything that comes contrary to that is a spiritual attack. But balance is necessary for our understanding. We are human beings made of dust. It is only reasonable to think that we are bound to break down every once in a while. Plus, you reap what you sow. If you put yourself in a position to catch a cold, you probably will.

You had a bad week. Grow up. We all have bad weeks; even those who follow Jesus. The Christian life isn’t perfect. Things won’t go well for you all the time. This doesn’t mean the devil was hiding out to hijack your week and make a bunch of bad things happen to you. Is it possible? Sure. But not likely.

Now that there is a little clarity surrounding spiritual warfare let’s look at how actually to fight.

How to fight and win in spiritual warfare

Recognize your opposition

People are not your enemy. The devil wants you to believe they are, but it isn’t true. Here’s what Scripture says about it:

Ephesians 6:12 NLTse
12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Flesh and blood people are never your enemies. This doesn’t mean that Satan never uses people to press us, slander us, or just plain annoy us. He does. However, this is simply an attempt to throw you off the trail of the real enemy of your soul. Spiritual warfare is spiritual. It deals with spiritual things. This verse is plain in the fact that unseen spiritual authorities and evil spirits are the ones behind attacks in your life.

Prepare yourself for battle

Just before the scripture in Ephesians 6:12, the Bible says this:

Ephesians 6:10–11 NLTse
10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.

There is a strategy the devil is using against you. To overcome this strategy, there is one essential thing to do: Be strong IN the Lord.
You are not meant to fight your own battles. Spiritual warfare is won as we stand IN the Lord. Standing in the Lord means allowing him the space needed to accomplish his purposes in you. It also means maintaining a defensive position wearing the armor of God, but relying on HIS strength instead of your own.
The greatest battle you and I have to win is the battle to allow God the opportunity to fight for us.

Fight spiritual battles with spiritual weapons

Now, I know I just said that we don’t fight, and that is true; but there are moments in which we have to take on an offensive or defensive mindset. Too many people wage war against other people by defending themselves or lashing out, but that’s not the way to fight. Spiritual warfare is won as you strike in the Spirit.

I believe there are two main ways to strike in the Spirit:
– Prayer
– Declaring God’s Word

Prayer can be used as an offensive or defensive weapon. Never underestimate the simple prayer that asks God for help. It is an example of defensive prayer. Offensive prayer is the sort that asks God to move mountains and then believes he will. It is praying for healing, asking for a breakthrough, seeking God for help with emotional hurt and things like this. Praying is simply talking to God, but using prayer as a weapon is talking to God with a mission.

When experiencing spiritual warfare, prayer is your number one key to winning. It draws you nearer to Jesus and puts distance between you and your enemy.

Declaring God’s Word is essential. When you declare God’s Word, it will open your find for faith to grow. We tend to believe what we hear spoken most often. Scripture agrees with this when it says, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” The truth of God’s Word has the power and potential to change your situation and surroundings. As you stand on it by declaring it over your life, the attack has to bow and bend to the truth. I created a PDF Guide with twenty-five things you can declare over your life and the scriptures that go with them. It will help you, and I want to give it to you free.
Click here to Get the PDF Guide

Recognize the battlefield

For a believer or anyone for that matter, the spiritual battlefield is in your mind. If you can keep the battlefield of your mind secure, you’ll win the war. How do you do that? You have to take the bad thoughts captive, cast them out, and replace them with thoughts from God’s Word. Doing this is closely tied to your declaration.

Scripture says this:

2 Corinthians 10:4–5 NIV
4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

I want to encourage you today. If you’re going through a difficult season right now, you CAN overcome it. God is on your side.
Put some of these ideas into practice, and you’ll begin to see a difference almost immediately.

Here’s a growing list of articles, posts, and resources to help you build strong faith. If you grow your faith, it will be a key to living an effective life. Enjoy!

Faith Building Challenge

Sometimes we know we need a little push, but we can’t seem to do it on our own. My five-day faith building challenge is the little push you need to jump start your faith. In it, you will find easy, actionable, and strategic steps to help you build your faith. I would love the opportunity to help you along the way. To join the challenge, sign up below, and I’ll send you an email to get you started.

http://larryshankle.com/fbc

The Serenity Prayer: Use It To Unlock Faith’s Best Kept Secret

Pray This Classic Prayer To Shine A Light In Your Darkness

http://larryshankle.com/serenity-prayer

We’ve all had those moments when our life seems to be in the dark. You seek direction, clarity, anything to point the way. It’s in these scenarios that you can feel the void of faith like somehow God is a million miles away. But faith has a secret that most people won’t tell you about, and that’s what I want to share with you.

Here is faith’s best-kept secret: Faith is about walking in the dark.

No one wants to hear this fact about faith. I’ll admit that I’d rather not write about it. We had much rather think of faith as something that makes things in our life cheerful, peaceful, and serene.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#Faith is about walking in the dark.” quote=”Faith is about walking in the dark.” theme=”style2″]

For complete transparency’s sake, allow me to say that I do believe faith in your life will produce these feelings at some point. Faith always lifts us into a greater place with God, just not always at first.

Often faith involves working, praying, and sorting things out during the dark times of your life. These situations are where the serenity prayer unlocks the secret of faith. It helps you pray the right prayer in the dark times.

The serenity prayer is well known and often quoted. It begins with these words:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Are there things in life that you cannot change? Yes. Absolutely.
Faith helps us to accept that God has a plan. There are nuances of his plan that we don’t understand, and frankly, there are portions of his plan we probably want to change.

Not everything works out the way you thought it would, but this is when faith is most necessary. The reason faith is so closely linked to trust is that you have to operate it in the dark. You have to hold God’s hand and trust that he is leading you and guiding you.

The serenity prayer reminds us that we have to develop the wisdom to see that some things work out how you desire and other things don’t.

You won’t be able to see all the outcomes you would like to see at the beginning of your journey. But these moments of trust have a powerful impact when it comes to faith building. They are irreplaceable.

As I look back over my life to this point, I see things from a different perspective. On the one hand, faith is absolutely about walking in the dark. Faith is about being comfortable in the dark, walking through the unknown, and relying on God to steer you clear of anything that would harm you. But on the other hand, it is about looking into your heart and focusing your gaze on the light.

If you’re following Jesus Christ, darkness may be all around you; but God’s light is burning inside of you. You need to look at the light.

[clickToTweet tweet=”If you’re following #Jesus, darkness may be all around you; but God’s light is burning inside you.” quote=”If you’re following Jesus Christ, darkness may be all around you; but God’s light is burning inside of you.” theme=”style2″]

Now, allow me to be transparent again: Following Jesus and looking at the light still won’t necessarily reveal everything you want to see about your situation. His light is too bright. It washes out everything except himself.

Whether you are focusing on the light or stumbling in the darkness, following Jesus is always about trust. But if you just trust and follow, God will lead you to a place where you can gain perspective. When you let God’s light inside of you shine, you can look back and see how far you’ve come.

You may not see everything ahead, but the light will clearly show what God has brought you through. It is a perspective of faith that brings peace, joy, and serenity.
So, you probably know the first part of the Serenity prayer, but there is more to it.

http://larryshankle.com/serenity-prayer

The Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,

Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,

Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Amen.

In the end, if you will continue holding on to your faith, you will have the opportunity to see those things that you have trusted God about, begin actually to take shape.

It isn’t easy to have faith sometimes, but the Serenity Prayer helps us to remember that hardships really can be the path to peace, and that if we do surrender to God’s will he will work out everything for us along the journey.

Faith is about:

  • Walking in the dark.
  • Looking inside our heart to see the light.
  • Stopping to look back and see where we’ve been.
  • Holding on for what lies ahead.
  • Trusting God for the outcome.

Question: What are you trusting God for during the dark times of your life?

Here’s a growing list of articles, posts, and resources to help you build strong faith. If you grow your faith, it will be a key to living an effective life. Enjoy!

Faith Building Challenge

Sometimes we know we need a little push, but we can’t seem to do it on our own. My five-day faith building challenge is the little push you need to jump start your faith. In it, you will find easy, actionable, and strategic steps to help you build your faith. I would love the opportunity to help you along the way. To join the challenge, sign up below, and I’ll send you an email to get you started.

http://larryshankle.com/fbc

Push Your Faith: 5 Powerful Benefits Of Active Faith

How Challenging Your Faith To Grow Can Make All The Difference

http://larryshankle.com/active-faith

If you want your faith to grow, you have to invest in it. If you want to build your faith, you have to push it and challenge it. There are actions you need to take. In fact, five very specific actions need to happen if your faith is going to become the foundation it has the potential to be.

Pushing your face is more than something you have the luxury of considering; It is something you must do for faith to grow.

For the next fifteen days, I’m personally going to be pushing my faith towards a specific goal. To reach my faith goal is going to require stretching on my part. It’s a goal I haven’t hit before.

I wonder if you have any life areas in which your faith needs to be stretched and challenged? My guess is you do.

So why aren’t you pushing, and challenging your faith? Most won’t do it because it involves work. We tend to disregard working on our faith because faith can feel like a mystical, spiritual sort of quality. However, at its core, faith is just belief. Faith is the choice to trust in something, someone, or some outcome that may seem distant or non-existent. Faith chooses to believe in God even though we can’t see him. It chooses to believe that our outcomes in life can be different, even against all the odds.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#Faith is a choice to trust in something, someone, or something that is distant or non-existent.” quote=”Faith is the choice to trust in something, someone, or some outcome that may seem distant or non-existent.” theme=”style2″]

Faith is very simple, but not always easy.

Growing your faith presents a challenge. My suggestion is: Rise to the challenge. Do it sooner rather than later.

To help you along the way I’d like to give you some specific tasks that will challenge your faith to grow. These actions will benefit you in so many ways, so don’t ignore them.

5 Powerful Benefits Of Exercising Your Faith

Resistance produces growth

Just like training for your physical body involves resistance, faith training also needs resistance. Don’t resist the resistance you feel in your faith.

Faith exercise is a choice. When problems come against you and believing for a good outcome seems hard is when you need to lean into the resistance. Lean into the difficulties. Lean into the burdens. Lean into those circumstances for which you have no answers. It seems counterintuitive to do so, but the resistance grows your faith every time. The fact is, faith is unnecessary if we have all the answers to our problems.

Pushing your faith moves it forward

My house is lively, to say the least. We (my wife and I) have two boys age seven and four. They keep us young and on our toes. When our boys have a disagreement, there are times when they push each other.

Siblings tend to do this. If you have a sibling, you’ve probably had an argument that involved pushing back and forth. Here’s how this relates to faith: When you don’t agree with the circumstances in your life, you need to push your faith and make it go forward.

We tend to retreat too soon. Maybe it feels easier to pull back rather than to push forward, but going forward is imperative to faith. You cannot accomplish anything with your faith gears shifted to “park.”

Don’t be afraid of pushing your faith. Challenge it to grow. Make it work for you. Faith is more than a simple belief in God; it is also a tool to be leveraged in your life.

God responds to active faith

There are two kinds of faith. Only one of them produces results. What are they? Active faith and passive faith.

Passive faith believes that God is real, that anything is possible, and that his word is true. Sounds good, but it lacks one thing. Active faith believes all these same truths, but active faith goes further. As the name implies, active faith acts on the truth it knows.

So allow me to ask you a question: What action are you taking on the truths you say you believe?

If you know that God is in control, why are you still worrying about everything? If the promises of God are true, why aren’t you putting them into practice in your life?

The Bible is full of principles. These are tools to be used, not just statements to believe. Belief and action need to partner up in your life. The reason is simple: God responds to active faith.

God doesn’t always respond to our needs, but he certainly responds when we take action on the promises of his word and utilize them in our life.

Faith in motion is easier to keep in motion

Once you’ve activated your faith and took action on the truth you believe, don’t stop. We are often tempted to take a rest, stop for awhile, and regroup our thoughts. It sounds logical, but when you’re in the middle of a faith battle, it is so much easier to keep going than to quit and start over. Push your faith, move it forward, and keep it in motion.

Driven faith produces results and glorifies God

I understand the reason for faith in God should simply be the fact that he IS God, but let’s face it, one reason you believe is that you need God’s help, right? Sure you do, and that’s OK.

God is our heavenly Father. We are supposed to rely on him for things. In fact, if you never ask for God’s help it’s a sure sign that you are too dependent on yourself. We call too much self-dependence, pride.

When faith is put to the test, it produces results. Jesus said we could ask for whatever we need. Sometimes our “whatever” involves tough, complex situations. These sort of circumstances produce active, growing faith in our heart. God responds to our faith under these conditions, and he brings results that glorify his name in our life.

Are there any areas of your life in which your faith needs to be pushed?
What actions could you take to move your faith forward and cause it to grow?

Here’s a growing list of articles, posts, and resources to help you build strong faith. If you grow your faith, it will be a key to living an effective life. Enjoy!

Faith Building Challenge

Sometimes we know we need a little push, but we can’t seem to do it on our own. My five-day faith building challenge is the little push you need to jump start your faith. In it, you will find easy, actionable, and strategic steps to help you build your faith. I would love the opportunity to help you along the way. To join the challenge, sign up below, and I’ll send you an email to get you started.

http://larryshankle.com/active-faith