Ben Patterson explains that muscular faith is vigorous and demanding, requiring us to stake our whole existence on God and trust in Him as our only hope. Faith is not a casual assent to truth, but something we must for which we must fight.
The book is divided into four parts: 1) The call to vigorous faith – fighting the good fight and finishing the race, 2) the case for vigorous faith – why Jesus speaks with severity and urgency, 3) The obstacle – our enemies of the flesh, the world, and the devil, 4) The essentials – how to fight the good fight.
Maybe I was hoping for some spiritual steroids, but this book was not as practical as I had hoped. Nevertheless, I have written pages of notes of ideas that I want to remember. Even though this is not a how-to book, Ben Patterson does discuss a few practical ways to grow your faith in the last part of the book.
For example, he explains that practicing the spiritual disciplines is like spreading a sail to position ourselves to receive the wind – to receive more of Jesus and all that He is ready to give. He reminds us that the Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint, and when we fail, what counts is what we do when failure happens. Enduring hardship and suffering is worth it if it means hearing and seeing Jesus more. Hope transforms disappointment.
This long book is full of nuggets of truth, but you have to dig through the piles of sand to find them.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for a review.