Where Is Your Faith?

By Jack Alexander

Faith 2

As Christians, we are aware of specific things that are simply part of the faith. Most of us know the Bible calls us to tithe. We also probably know we should volunteer our time at a food bank or at our church. And one Sunday when our children are small, we dress them up and bring them to church because tradition dictates we should christen or dedicate them.

We act in obedience, but sometimes we are just hedging our bets against the things we know we can’t control. We check the boxes of what God “expects” and think, Surely that’s enoughIn these uncertain times, God can’t ask for more than that. So we go back to our regular lives, with all the day-to-day stresses and unanswered questions about the future.

We put our faith in what we can see—our bank accounts, our work ethic, our government, our families. We push aside the needs of others, thinking government services, disaster relief funds, and other people will solve those problems. We have too much on our plates already as we try to control everything around us, worrying about the future.

Like the disciples, we doubt what we cannot see. We fear what we cannot control.

And that’s just the way the enemy wants it. In the spiritual war that rages around us, fear is one of Satan’s greatest weapons. He uses fearful thinking to drive unbelief, creating a wedge between our human interpretations and God’s divine and holy provision.

He dissuades us from sacrifice, whispering that God doesn’t really care about our day-to-day lives. He blocks us from receiving the fullness of God’s blessing by focusing our attention on other things—on idols.

One of my favorite verses is Jonah 2:8–9: “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good.”

This was a hard-learned lesson for the prophet Jonah, whom my mother used to quiz me about many years ago. God had called him to preach to the Assyrian people of Nineveh, longtime enemies of the Israelites. Jonah didn’t want to go. He tried to run away instead, jumping on a boat that was going anywhere except to the place where God had called him.

But God sent a storm that tossed the boat and threatened the lives of everyone on board. Knowing this was his punishment, Jonah told the sailors to throw him overboard to save their own lives. They did, and a “huge fish” swallowed Jonah, saving his life but putting him in an uncomfortable position. After three days of surviving inside the fish, Jonah came to his senses and called out to the Lord for help.

When we put anything ahead of God in our hearts—even our own safety, as Jonah did—we turn our backs on God’s love and forfeit our place in his provision. Imagine choosing to forfeit “amazing grace” to cling to a false god. By surrendering these idols, we open up space in our lives to receive God’s mercy and grace.

Idols are the things we feel are too important to give to God. They are, even when we know better than to use the words, the things that are more important to us than God.

The enemy knows our weak spots. He knows we want to protect our children, to provide for our families, to not be a burden. He tells us our first priority must be our own comfort and security, especially in indigent and uncertain times. Satan preys on our fears and convinces us we must rely on ourselves to secure our situation.

Source: crosswalk.com

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