We exercise to improve our heart health and we lift weights to build and tone our muscles. But what about our spiritual walk? What do we do to stay hopeful, encouraged, and faithful when it seems as if God isn’t listening or answering our prayers? We may feel despair, dejected, and plain old depressed. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

God assures us that He will never leave or forsake us, so then why do we feel forgotten? Why do we feel so alone? Because, in times like this, the gym may be a great place to exercise to help you get your body in shape, and a run along the lakefront may be a great place to get out and clear your mind. But for the believer who affirms there is a God, and yet in the same breath feels lonely, lost, and left behind–running and lifting won’t do it. For these occasions, you need to exercise your faith by building spiritual muscles. It is the only workout that will get you through the sometimes dark and lonely hours.

Here are three ways to build spiritual muscles:

1. Wait on God. It may be hard. It may seem as if nothing is happening. And every part of your flesh wants to DO SOMETHING, because we don’t equate waiting with doing, and yet, that is exactly what we should do, for waiting is an exercise that builds our spiritual muscles. Waiting gives us strength.

A popular Scripture that teaches us this can be found in Isaiah 40: 31 which says, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” We see from this verse that waiting invigorates and rejuvenates us. The Message version gives us an even better depiction. It reads:
Why would you ever complain, O Jacob,
or, whine, Israel, saying,
“God has lost track of me.
He doesn’t care what happens to me”?
Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?
God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.
He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.
And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired,
they walk and don’t lag behind. (Isa 40: 27-31).

How awesome is that! While waiting on God, we shouldn’t be getting tired. We should be excited and energized!

2. Draw your strength from God and not on your own self-reliance. Don’t take matters in your own hands. Usually while

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