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Tuesday, July 16 2013

Introduction

In the last study titled “How Faith Comes – Part1” we learned that faith comes by hearing the word of God. We considered extensively, the various ways we could receive this faith; listening to the word of God, reading the word of God, etc. As a continuation of How Faith comes, today, we will look at a sub-title: “Sustaining or Faith”. This is important because having faith alone without sustaining it and/or maintaining it will cause us to lose it! In this study, we will consider the pitfalls and how to avoid them.

From our text, Peter heard the voice of the Master – the Word of God when Jesus said to all of them first in verse 27; “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

His faith was activated straightaway. The message version of verse 28 says; “Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”

And then Jesus said to him “Come!”

Peter walked on water; but it was his faith that kept him afloat. As long as he could sustain his faith, he was fine. But then, the pitfalls came threatening and he lost it. So let us consider these pitfalls and how to avoid them.

The pitfalls are (but not limited to) the following

1.      Fear

From our text in Matt: 14 and verse 30

“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink cried out; “Lord, save me!””

2.      Doubt

In verse 31 of Matt. 14, Jesus indicates that doubt is one of the pitfalls of sustaining our faith

Also in Mark 11:23 [AMP], He reiterated the same pitfall.

“Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, be lifted up and thrown into the sea! And does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him.”

And so if we will not doubt; if we will just believe, then whatever we say will happen!

3.      Distractions

These come in various forms but the purpose is to get our eyes of the Author and Finisher of our faith and focus on things contrary to what the Word says; the winds, the waves, etc. Romans 8:38-39 lists some of the possible distractions.

4.      Our senses

What we see around us, what we hear and the way we perceive the things we see and hear affect the way we feel and these in turn invokes doubt. 2 Cor. 4:18a; 

So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.”

* Discuss any other pitfalls

 

Avoiding the Pitfalls

We can avoid being victims of these pitfalls if we apply (but not limited to) the following:

1.      Prove God's Word by Acting on It – Make use of your faith

One of the definitions of faith as we learnt in our study is proving God's Word by acting on it. Because, one may say that they know God's Word is good, but will never really know God's

Word is good until we have acted on it and have reaped the results of it. There is a very strong importance when someone has a first-hand experience; an eye-witness account of God’s word! Luke so very confidently expressed this in his epistle to Theophilus in Luke 1:1-4. His confidence was based on the first-hand experience of the disciples. Heb. 5:14, says:

“But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Emphasis mine

This follows then that the more we walk by faith, the stronger it becomes and the less the possibility of losing it.

 

 

2.      Believe What the Bible Says - Not What Your Senses Tell You

We should believe what the Bible says, not what we see, hear or feel because our faith is not based on our feeling but based on what God says. When we develop our faith to the place where we believe what the Word says regardless of circumstances and physical symptoms, then we are rest assured that we won’t lose faith.

Important to note is that we do not deny symptoms because they are real. Of course pain is real; sin is real; and the devil is real. But we should not focus on them. Romans 4:19-21 MSG

“Abraham didn’t focus on his own impotence and say, “It’s hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child.” Nor did he survey Sarah’s decades of infertility and give up. He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said.”

Notice what the Bible said: "Abraham did not focus on his own impotence but plunged into what God promised.

3.      Speak what the Bible Says - Not What Your Senses Tell You

Again from Romans 4:19a, Abraham did not say “It’s hopeless”. Joel 3:10 (NIV) says: “Let the weak say, “I am strong.””

Also, Hebrews 13:6 says: “So that we may boldly say, the Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

We should quit saying what we feel (it may be real but not the truth) and start saying what the Bible says about us (obviously the truth)

“Often we are faced with two realities; the negative (based on occurrences around us and our feelings) and the positive (based on the Word of God and His precious promises) and ultimately, we have a choice to make; to confess the positive or the negative reality.

The simple truth at the end of the day is that the reality that we continually confess will eventually supersede the other.”- Still Standing

4.      Let the seed of God’s word grow within you

Hosea 14:2 (NIV)”Take my words with you.” And Acts 19:20 (KJV) says; “So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” We should allow the word of God grow within us because it is His word that will prevail when our faith is tested. Jesus overcame the temptations of Satan by the Word that He had within Him. “Matthew 4:1-11”. Proverbs 4:20-22 says:

“My son, attend unto my words; incline thine ears unto my sayings. Let them not depart from before thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they [my words] are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

The source of our faith is the Word of God; so if we allow the Word to grow in us then we are indirectly growing the faith in us!

5.      Deliberately shift your focus to the Author and the Finisher of your faith

Focus on Jesus, who is your High Priest and the Author and the Finisher of your faith (Heb. 12:2). We should center our attention and our minds on what Jesus has done for us and what He is doing for us as our High Priest. He is seated at the right hand of God right now making intercession for us (Heb. 7:25). Also Hebrews 4:14 says:

“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God let us hold fast our profession [our confession of faith].

So we should get our attention focused on the right things - on Jesus, our great High Priest, and on His Word - instead of on ourselves and our feelings.

Psalm 119:15 ESV: “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.”

 

Conclusion

There are a number of things out there that will contend with our faith. That is why we are advised to be on our guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous and be strong! 1 Corinth 16:13. Truth also is that it is the ONLY currency of heaven. The ONLY way we can please God! Also Jude 1:3-4 MSG says: “Dear friends, I’ve dropped everything to write you about this life of salvation that we have in common. I have to write insisting—begging!—that you fight with everything you have in you for this faith entrusted to us as a gift to guard and cherish. Sustaining our faith is worth dropping everything else for!

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 07:43 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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