Growing through the Crises of Faith
Matthew 11: 1-19
Take a look at Isaiah 35:4-6; 50:10! We will all experience crises of faith as some point, where our experience and expectations converge, yet do not meet. This will happen when we venture beyond our comfort zone into His service and we find our circumstances are challenging our faith (Phil. 4:19). We will wonder if our life has been meaningless. Did I do the right thing? How come, even though I have been faithful, I have experienced such suffering and disappointment? This is what the book of Habakkuk is all about. Habakkuk starts out cursing and complaining to God. God reveals Himself; Habakkuk repents, and ends by worshiping God, even though his circumstances did not change. His perspective and outlook changed!
When a crisis comes, do what John the Baptist did; go tell Jesus! Get in His Word and allow it to give you assurance and peace. Allow God to refresh you and give you strength; He will come and save you. Turning back in defeat, distrust, or disillusionment is no real answer. Realize that your faith needs to be challenged so it can grow, and glow (Heb. 13:5-6)!
· What we think we know pales in comparison to who Christ is and what He does for us. When we feel we are wise, we are like a four-year-old thinking he knows better than his parents. How far can a four-year-old carry himself in life?
· How far can we carry ourselves in life without Christ? We may think we are doing well, but when we look back, with eternity as our guide, our ways are revealed as very pathetic indeed! We need to allow God's truth to reign in us by trust and obedience. When we do this by trusting instead of worrying, we will grow, and real wisdom will flow to us and through us to those all around. Just be aware that God will not give you more faith, more wisdom, or more gifts until you have mastered what He has already given you (Luke 16:10; 19:17; John 7:17; 14:12; Heb. 12:6)!
· Come unto me (Matt. 11: 28) is a promise of wisdom and the offering of God's strength-and perhaps the most endearing words uttered by our Lord! It is so simple for the humble to see and accept, yet so hard for a mind preoccupied with the pride of self. Without humbling ourselves to acknowledge Him, we cannot receive the Savior. Rather, we get a need unmet and a soul empty. Jesus' load is heavy and requires our fullest for His Highest; yet, it is easy when our eyes and faith are on Him (1 John 1:7)!
· Believing something does not mean you live it. Faith must be real and invoke a response from within you. It cannot be just academic!
· People then, as people today, differentiate others by their words, and more importantly, by their actions. What do your actions say about what is in your heart? To confess one thing and do another was what Proverbs and the Jew would heartily say was a fool! Thus, our faith will produce our actions, but our actions will demonstrate our faith (Duet. 6:4; Matt. 12: 22-37; Mark 12:29)!
A crisis comes. How often we forget that Jesus got us though the last one. We always need to see where we came from to see where we need to go; we need to see how He once guided us in order to have the assurance that He will guide us through again. They did not wait for Jesus' intervention; the disciples jumped into the crisis without Jesus (Psalm 106:13; Matt. 14:22-33). We have to see where He has led us so we can realize He will help us again. Each problem that is solved in our life is an increase in our faith storage; let us use that storage and not keep it so tightly shut that we do not even remember it when we need it again. How can you know when you are unable or unwilling to apply God's Word into your life? How can this awareness help you apply His truth?
1. We will all experience crises of faith as some point. So, what do you need to do to prepare your mind, will, and faith to expect and accept whatever comes, then turn it into a learning and faith-building experience?
2. How can you become stronger through harsh and difficult experiences such as suffering or disappointment?
3. How can God's Word give you assurance and peace in all situations?
4. God is more concerned with our obedience than our knowledge. This is so essential for us to understand and apply! What do you need to do to make this real in your church?
5. What can you do to make sure your Faith is real? What would invoke a response from within you?
6. Most Christians have a faith that is mainly academic; that is, they may believe and know, but do little or nothing with it. What can be done to show them that their faith needs to be real, and their actions say what is in their heart?
7. In what manner do you practice confession about God? How would this improve your spiritual and emotional maturity? If you do not already, what do you need to do to start this vital aspect of declaring your faith and honoring who Christ is and what He has done for you?
8. Complacency is the evil of our will that does not see what He has done before, so, we do not look ahead to trust Him. What can you do so that complacency does not rule in your heart?
9. What do you need to believe and do so that you are able to forget your will, forget your past, and forget what you may not be able to see, and reach out and take His hand in life?
10. What do you need to do to keep your eyes on important matters, such as His Word and how to apply it, rather than following the latest trends?