Sunday, October 4, 2009

Faith in God- Part 5

Overcoming the Enemies of faith

In closing this lesson we will consider some of the main enemies of faith and how they can be overcome.

1. Ignorance. You cannot believe a promise until you hear it or find it. Much unbelief rises out of the fact that people just don't know what the Bible says. The cure for this is study, meditation and consideration of the Word.

2. Unbelief. This is the sinful choice to not believe God. It is usually motivated by pride, rebellion and ignorance. The cure for this is therefore to humble oneself, change one's mind, choose to believe. Fasting puts the flesh down and is often very effective in destroying the power of unbelief, because it aids in humbling ourselves and in removing fleshly distractions to the voice of God. If done correctly it can help us to focus on God and will make the spiritual things more intense to us, thereby destroying unbelief.

3. Fear. Negative fear is a negative emotion based on the real expectation of bad things to come. It is rooted in anxiety and a lack of trust in God's fatherly protection and love. Perfect love casts out fear. (1Jn 4:18). God is perfect love. Therefore by seeking God, His presence and the fullness of His Spirit we will be set free from fear. When we are conscious of God's power it is very easy to be courageous and bold. We expect success when we are consciously full of God and know that we are doing what He is telling us to do. To overcome fear we must look to God and not to natural considerations which could cause our failure if God were not with us. Peter, looking to the wind and the waves, was overcome by a fear which paralysed his faith and caused him to sink. He needed to keep looking to Jesus. God says, "Fear not, FOR I AM WITH YOU." (Is. 43:5). God gives us a reason not to fear, and a commandment. To fear anyone or anything except the Lord is a sin. We can overcome this sin by being full of God and looking to Him. Also we must forgive all men if we want to be delivered from this form of torment. (Mt 18:34, I Jn 4:18)

4. Doubt. Doubt is an enemy to faith because it speaks with a voice that challenges the truth or the reliability of what we should be believing. To overcome doubt we must fill ourselves with the Word of God, meditating deeply and repetitively on it. Doubt is the evidence of an unconsecrated heart and mind. It is the evidence of lack of devotion to God's Word. Doubt, like fear, torments. We must forgive others and give our whole hearts to God. We must stop listening to the voice of demons or the voice of our own carnal mind trained from early days to resist God. This is a decision. It helps to hear the testimonies of others to overcome doubt. However, doubt will never be fully overcome until we treat the Bible as God's voice TO US.

5. Discouragement. Sometimes we feel discouraged because of physical or emotional weakness or tiredness. We may be disappointed by the behaviour of other Christians. We may be discouraged by the persecution of others, even of our families. Perhaps we have waited for what may or may not be God's promise to us, and we grow impatient. Many Christians at some time in their life become disappointed with God. Satan uses discouragement to weaken and if possible destroy our faith. To overcome discouragement we must make a decision to be strong (Hebrews 12:12; Ephesians 6:10) in the Lord. We must want to be strong and stop making excuses for our weakness and failure. We must consider God's faithfulness to us in the past, even through difficulties (Hebrews 10:32-34). We must rededicate ourselves to God's Word, to thankfulness, to prayer and to the voice of the Spirit. We need to learn to obey the Spirit in small things. Sometimes even great men of God like Elijah were discouraged. At one time, even after a great victory, he ran away from Jezebel, the witch. God restored Elijah through the ministry of angels, through his voice, and by getting him occupied in new missions for God full of the promise of hope.

6. The Love of Praise. When you are more interested in what people - even Christian people - think of you, more than what God thinks of you, according to Jesus, you won’t be able to truly believe in Him. Why? Because God’s priorities and man’s are different. Jesus said, "How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?" (John 5:44)

To overcome this, you must cultivate a personal relationship with God through prayer and obedience. You must allow your old nature to be weakened as you say yes to God and no to these desires for seeking praise and recognition.

Remain blessed

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