Without Faith

If you’ve been a Christian any length of time at all, you know that there are hard days. And some hard days are harder than others.

If I was transparent, I would admit that there have been days in my own walk with God when I’ve questioned God’s call on my life. Days when I’ve wondered if He hears my prayers. And on my darkest days, I’ve wondered if He even cares. All are some form of doubt about God’s goodness and love for me.

Doubt about God’s character is a terrible thing. So terrible that it’s the root of all sin — not the root of some sin, but all sin.

Scripture calls this doubt a lack of faith:

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

What this means is that anything not done in faith toward God is sin. If you’re still “doubting” me, just open the book of Genesis and read about the fall of man from his sweet spot, so to speak, with God — the Garden of Eden, where the life of Adam and Eve was way better than our most idealized form of living.

They lacked nothing and had everything …. including the ultimate everything: the most heaven-on-earth relationship with God any human has ever known, except for Jesus.

Yet somehow along the way in this idyllic walk with God, the enemy had been able to insert doubt about God’s character into Adam and Eve’s hearts. Once doubt came, sin soon followed.

Personally, I think the enemy had likely been at work on them for some time before this pivotal encounter that radically reshaped human history. Nonetheless it was at the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that this issue of doubt became so ripe that it seemed good enough to “eat.”

And isn’t that the way sin always works?

The enemy does a drive-by on us with some sin and we kind of glance at it as it rolls by. We initially reject it and keep our eyes fixed on Christ, believing by faith and not doubting that God is so good that He has a better way for us. Then we have a bad day and we’re weakened for some reason and here “it” comes again.

This time the sin (pride, anger, gossip, deceitfulness, manipulation, lust, hatred, control, etc.) lingers longer in our consciousness. After all, we’re in pain and like any normal human being, we want relief and our pet sin provides at least a brief form of relief.

Besides, maybe God won’t care if we indulge a little in it because of some humanistic form of grace we’ve embraced. Surely He won’t notice if we take one little, tiny bite of this pain relieving sin.

So, metaphorically standing once again at the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, we reason with ourselves and embrace the sin just for a minute longer as we say in our hearts, “The truth is, Lord, it feels kind of good when I sin this sin. It kind of satisfies; whereas right now, You just don’t.”

And the reason why I know this? I’ve had seasons in my life where I’ve fallen prey to this line of thinking.

Incredibly the question the deceiver asked in the Garden still hangs in the air some 6,000 years later for believers everywhere: “Did God really say …. Is God really good? Does He really love you? Does He really have a plan for your life? Is He really enough?” And some of us are still buying the doubt about God’s character hook, line and sinker.

So what do we do with this terrible state of affairs we sometimes find ourselves in?

We come back.

We come back to the reality that God is great and yes, God is good. We stir ourselves up again that He’s worthy of our allegiance and obedience — even if that obedience requires that we get up on our cross and crucify our flesh, one more time, even if for the seventh time today.

So many times, though, we want to blame others for our situations and justify our actions based on what other people have done or said to us. Or we over spiritualize our crisis of faith and say that the “enemy is after me because when my feet hit the floor, he knows he’s in trouble!”

Or …. maybe, just maybe, we’re so steeped in our doubt about God’s character and who we are in Him that we can’t see the forest because of the trees.

In his letter to the first-century church at Corinth, the Apostle Paul encouraged the Saints with these words:

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

Pastor Jack Hayford has a great saying: “You can’t crucify a demon and you can’t cast out the flesh.” This basically means that sometimes our worst enemy is us, and the only remedy is to come back to God in humility and submission that He might grant us true wisdom and knowledge through the tree at Calvary.

We must come back to faith in God’s character. We must come back to a faith that believes if we confess our sins (beginning with doubt in God), He is faithful and just to forgive us (1 John 1:9). And we must come back to a faith that knows that any trouble that overtakes us will ultimately work out for our good (Romans 8:28).

If you really want out of the doubt that so easily entangles us in sin, then come back to faith in God.

You’re loved, Saints,
Sarah

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