You have been feeling sick, and you make an appointment with the doctor. After examination, the physician writes you a prescription. He tells you, “The prescription is for seven days. You are probably going to feel much better in four or five days, but I want you to keep taking the pills until they are all gone. Take the medicine the full seven days.”
On day five, you feel normal; you decide to stop taking the medicine. The extra pills sit in the medicine cabinet for months.
You had enough faith in the doctor to go to him when you were ill. You believed him enough to take his prescription. But you did not have enough faith in him to follow his instructions to the letter. After all, you felt normal; all was well. Why take the pills?
Another example – While driving down the road, there is a sign, “Bridge Out One Mile Ahead!” Having driven down the road yesterday, you have doubts about the validity of the warning. You decide to go around the barricade, travel a mile down the road, and see for yourself if the bridge is out.
Once again, a lack of faith causes you to toss instructions to the side and bypass the warning.
When broken down to its simplest form, Sin is the lack of faith in what God has said.
When sin entered into the world, the first words Satan said to Eve were, “Yeah, hath God said …” causing doubt in Eve about God’s Word. The lust of the flesh, the eyes, and the pride of life all came into play in Adam and Eve’s sin. However, it all started with a doubt, a doubt in what God said.
Doubt equals a lack of faith.
In the Old Testament, Israel is taken into captivity by the Babylonians. The prophet Jeremiah prophesied before the captivity started that it would last seventy years.
Israel had advanced deep into sin. The sexual sins abounded in the land; they worshiped other gods. Acts of human sacrifice took place as they offered babies and children on the altars of other gods. God sent messenger after messenger to no avail. The words of coming judgment and the pleas for repentance not only fell on deaf ears. But they also fell on hostile ears as Israel killed many of the prophets for preaching repentance.
It all started with a lack of faith.
God commanded Israel to have a sabbatical year. They were to plant and harvest for six years, then in the seventh year, no planting, and therefore, no harvest would occur. God explained to Israel that the yield of year six would be enough to get them through to the harvest of year eight. A bumper crop indeed (Leviticus 25:1-7,20-22).
Think of the faith required to do this – God will supply enough to sustain everyone from year six basically through year eight. Think of it this way – every six years, no income or food coming in at all for two years. Most of us would not consider such an option.
Israel was to do nothing extra. Just do what you do every year and take a year off; God will provide.
Israel will go four hundred ninety years of not doing this. It is simple to imagine. “I gotta plant something. We will starve if we don’t plant. I know what the Scripture says, but this is ridiculous. God don’t want us to all starve to death.”
Obviously, none of the farmers lived through the 490 years. The unbelief in God’s Word (that He would provide enough to miss a year of planting) would have a stronger hold on each generation after the first. Before long, Israel had no trust in God, and the worship of other gods grew.
Making this relevant today, is a lack of faith in God bringing undue sin and its circumstances into your life?
Hebrews 13:5 tells us He “will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Anxiety and fear run rampant in the church. Are we not taking God at His Word?
God gives us guidelines in His Word about sex and marriage. Yet, many couples have relationship problems, broken hearts, and broken homes because they did not believe God when He talked about sex outside of marriage. They had more faith in their feelings and sexual desires than they did in God’s Word.
Churches are filled with Christians who are unwilling to present their bodies as a living sacrifice and go through the transformation of the mind needed to know God’s will for them (Romans 12:1-2.) The reason they are unwilling to take these steps? They do not believe they can. Again, a lack of faith in God’s Word – Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Either faith or a lack thereof will dictate your life. Which is behind your actions.
The just shall live by faith — Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38. It has to be essential; God repeated it four times. Do you believe it?
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With houses of worship still under restrictions across much of the nation, the editors of the Baltimore Post-Examiner are inviting an array of spiritual teachers to share insights from the ages along with words of comfort and encouragement. These timely messages are not exclusive to any particular faith walk and will be included in our ongoing Spirituality series.
Preacher Tim Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. His weekly column “Preacher’s Point” may be found at: www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com