We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of everyone of you for one another is increasing. (2 Thessalonians 1:3 NRSV)

In one of his books, John Maxwell tells us something quite fascinating about sharks, those fierce leviathans of the deep: sharks only grow as large as their surroundings permit. The shark, strangely enough, is one of the most popular fish for aquariums. The reason for this is that sharks adapt to their environment. If you catch a small shark and confine it, it will stay a size proportionate to the aquarium in which it lives. Sharks can be six inches long and fully mature. But turn them loose in the ocean and they grow to their normal size.

I've noticed the same phenomenon with regard to followers of Jesus Christ. If we are challenged to live heroic lives for Christ, we have that capability. Left unchallenged, however, most of us stay where we are--with an immature understanding of faith and a nominal commitment to Christ.

Are you being challenged in your faith?

God of all, challenge me in my faith, so that I may grow more committed to you. In Jesus name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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