Words of Hope








Go Back

Dr. Jeff Schreve offers extended encouragement and hope.  Search by topic category to the right.


The Key to Building Spiritual Strength

Imagine what it would be like if you could get up in the morning, take a look in the mirror, and see not what’s on the outside, but the condition of your spiritual self. This mirror would allow you to see everything that is present inside: your strengths, your struggles, and your spiritual fitness.

I think many of us would probably walk away from that mirror saying, “Yikes! I need to work out more. My spiritual muscles are turning to mush! Now, for my physical muscles, I know the remedy for me is simple: “Get to the gym, dough boy.” But how do you build up your spiritual “faith muscles” so you can be the person God wants you to be?

Well, there’s actually a lot in common between how you develop your physical muscles and how you develop your spiritual muscles. When you go to the gym, you use equipment that provides resistance to your movements. Whether it’s weights, a treadmill, or a stair climber, these workouts are designed to make you struggle.
In the same way, God uses “resistance” to build our spiritual muscles. As we face struggles and hardships in life, we are forced to dig deeper, seek harder, and trust God like never before.

God uses “resistance” to build our spiritual muscles. As we face struggles and hardships in life, we are forced to dig deeper, seek harder, and trust God like never before.  

That’s exactly what happened to Martha in John chapter 11. Her brother Lazarus had passed away, and she told Jesus in verse 21, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Can you hear her sorrow in those words? What pain … what struggle. And in that moment, Martha was given a chance to build her spiritual strength. The story continues in verses 23-27, Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.” 

Martha already believed Jesus was the Messiah. But she was about to dig even deeper and achieve a new level of faith. When Jesus told her to remove the stone covering Lazarus’ grave, she admitted her doubts saying in verse 39, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Yet even in her doubts, she tapped into her faith and had the stone removed. 

As you know, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and brought resolution to Martha’s struggle. But throughout the whole ordeal, Jesus never let Martha off the hook. He could’ve spoken a word and healed Lazarus before death, but He didn’t. He could have removed the stone with a word, but He didn’t. He told Martha to see to that. He wanted to give her faith a workout! 

In the midst of your struggles, remember that God is giving your faith a workout. When it feels like God doesn’t make sense, cling to what He says to be true in His Word. Trust God in your struggles, step out in faith, and you’ll build spiritual strength you never knew you had.