Charles Stanley - Wavering Faith
Faith is not only the key to answered prayer. Faith is the key to everything in your life. Every aspect of your life is affected by it. What you accomplish and what you become in life is affected by your faith. Whatever you achieve in life, wherever you head out, whatever direction of life you're going in, your faith is the key. Now all of us have a degree of faith whether you're a Christian or not. And many people have faith in thanks really don't turn out right and they end up being disappointed.
When you place your faith in God through his son Jesus Christ, life is going to become exciting. You're going to have a sense of accomplishment and achievement. You're going through difficulty and hardship and trials in your life. But the difference is this. You're walking with him. You have his presentation. His power. His assistance in your life to see you through it no matter what. And when I think about how people look upon God and how they look at their life and oftentimes leave him out totally and wonder why things are as they are.
Well, what is faith in the first place? Faith is simply the confident conviction you and I have that God is who he says he is and he'll do what he promised to do. That's what our faith as a Christian is all about. We have this basic conviction that he is who he is and he'll keep his every single promise and as a believer it won't take you long to figure that out. Likewise, we don't have to worry and spread about things. In fact Jesus in the sermon on the mount said don't be anxious about all those things. But he brought us to trust.
Paul said also in Philippians, the peace of God garrisons about, protects us when we walk and live by faith and trust him. You'll either walk with anxiety and frustration and worry or you'll walk in faith. Can't have them both. Oil and water don't mix. Faith and unbelief don't mix. So how is it you and I develop faith? And how does that faith grow? I want to talk about this whole issue of wavering faith. I mean by that, yes, he will. No, he won't. I think so, I'm not sure. There's lots of people who waver in their faith all throughout their Christian life and wonder why God doesn't do more in their life. You maybe one of those persons. In this particular message I want to show you how to deal with that so you can grow in your faith. It can't be simple faith that wavers, perfect faith, God does something awesome and great in your life. It's yours for the hearing and applying in your life. I trust you listen very carefully.
So I want you to turn to the book of James. And we'll read the first eight verses together. And he's writing to those who are undergoing difficulty and hardship and this is the way he addresses them. First chapter verse one. James the bond servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ to the 12 tribes who are dispersed a broad greetings. Consider it all joy brothers when you encounter various trials knowing the testing of your faith produces endurance and let endurance have its perfect result so you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing. That is you're growing and mature in your Christian life. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all generously and without reproach and it will be given to him. What he's simply saying is, if you're going through difficulty this morning, ask God to give you the wisdom to know how to face it and walk through it. Then he says, but, he must ask in faith without any doubting, without wavering, one who doubts is like one driven by the sea and tossed by the wind. That man or woman ought not to expect he will receive anything from the Lord. Being a double minded man or person, unstable in all their ways.
That's a pretty strong statement. If you are unstable, if you're just waving back and forth about whether God will or whether he won't, maybe he'll keep his word. Maybe he won't. Then you're unstable. If you're unstable in your faith which is the foundation of the way you live, you'll be unstable in other things. One of the primary reasons many Christians do not live a godly life, do not live a life that's rewording and a life that is permeated by peace and joy and happiness and contentment even in difficulty and trial is because their faith is not steady. It's not strong. It's not firm. It's not mature. Still in the baby stage of wavering faith thinking maybe he will, maybe he won't. I want us to address this whole issue because it is a major issue in everybody's life.
And when you think about it, what he says in this passage, he says, if a person's faith is continually wavering, watch this, it done mean it never wavers. All of us have come to circumstances and situations in our life where maybe we've never been confronted with that particular issue before. It maybe we're facing something we don't know exactly how to deal with it. So we may waver in our faith. That ought to be a stage, not a continuous wavering of our faith because it begins with little faith the Bible says and it can grow into great faith. You have assurance on the basis of what God says he'll keep his promise and do exactly as he says. Perfect faith means you reached the stage in that given situation you're so fully persuaded you don't ask him anymore. Thank you, God, it's a done deal. And you walk away from the difficulty of it and the uncertainty of it with absolute assurance your Heavenly Father has given you perfect faith. It's as good as done.
So wavering faith is that juvenile kind of faith and it should not last in our life very long, but for most people, that's the way they live their life. Now with that in mind and I think about how many people wonder why God doesn't bless them the way he desires to bless them or the way he promises to bless, they wonder why, because they're unstable when it comes to their faith. And if your faith affects every single aspect of your life, that's one area you need to be steadfast, firm, confident, assured that this God whom you serve will keep his word every single time. And two things are absolutely essential to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and that is that we believe he is who he says he is and he'll do what he promised to do.
So with that in mind I want you to think about a couple of things here. I want you to turn, if you will, to the 11th chapter of Mark for a moment. 11th chapter of Mark. And this is a very important passage of scripture about faith and about God answering prayer. And you read it many times probably and wondered what in the world does that mean. 22nd verse of Mark 11 scripture says, Jesus answered saying to them, have faith in God. Truly I say to you, watch this. Whoever says to this mountain be taken up and cast into the sea and does not doubt in his heart but believes what he says will happen, it will be granted to him. Was Jesus saying you can walk around faith and knock this mountain down and toss this one over. No. He's not talking about throwing down mountains. What he's saying is simply this. He is saying that no task that is asked in harmony with God will not be done.
That is, whatever we ask, listen, that is in harmony with his will in our life God will bring it to pass. Is he going to do something just because we ask him? If it's not his will, it's not going to happen. He's not talking about tossing mountains down, he's talking about the degree of faith we have. Therefore, I say to you all, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them and they'll be granted to you. Believe you have received them, he says, and they'll be granted to you. When I think about that and I think about how people's faith and how they weave and wobble around I want to take a moment and give you a glimpse of place of faith in our life. Watch this. I don't want you to try to write them down , because I'll get back to them later.
What I want you the see is this. Every single aspect of the Christian life is wrapped up in faith and we'll put them up quickly so I don't can get them. We have access to God by faith. We walk in our Christian life by faith. We have sonship with him by faith. We live daily by faith. We have righteousness by faith. We have forgiveness of sins by faith. We have Christ indwelling us by faith. We receive the Holy Spirit by faith. We are protected by faith. We stand firm in difficulty by faith. We resist the devil by faith. We have victory over the world by faith. We have victory over the evil one by faith. We have victory over difficulties and circumstances by faith. We have power through faith. Every single aspect of your life is wrapped up in faith. So when somebody says, I have faith. How much faith? Well, I believe in God. That's not enough.
We're talking about practical faith that works every single day whether you're in your family, on your job, in pleasure, whatever it might be, our life is to be a life of faith. Fully trusting in this God who is so clearly described in the word of God, this God who is always truthful, he never changes his mind, he's a God of goodness, love and mercy and kindness. Omniscient, omnipresent. The God of righteousness and judgment. This is the God in whom you and I believe. Here is a God who is absolutely always truthful, never untruthful. It is his very nature to be truthful. Can't be otherwise. It's an attribute of who he is. In spite of that, many people flounder through life wondering why they're not blessed, why they have this trouble or that. The answer is they don't believe God is really who he says he is. And as long as I doubt him, I'll miss his blessing.
Now it's very important you listen carefully, because many people think they're trusting him. They think they're believing him. Because they say well here's what he says. And you know, I believe what he says. Well, do you specifically believe that this request you made of God, God's going to answer? And if so, on what basis? Just because you ask? No. Just because you're good enough? No. My simply asking and being good is not going to make God do something that's not his will and he'll not respond to that to answer. He'll respond on who he is, his will, his purpose, his plan, his goodness, his will, his mercy and his kindness towards us. God is an awesome God who has us in mind. The day you were born, listen, the day you were born, God already had in store for you all the blessings for all of your life on this earth. And it's the way we respond as to how much of the blessing we're able to enjoy and achieve in life. We claim them by faith. We walk in them and enjoy them by faith. That's why it's the most important aspect of your Christian life. Everything else depends upon it.
Now, when we talk about wavering faith here's what we're talking about. We talk about faith that sort of staying ergs. I believe him this moment and I'm questioning him at this moment. I see my way clear now but tomorrow I'm not sure. And so instead of being steadily focused upon God, that kind of faith is wishy-washy. It staggers. It's like a cork you throw in the ocean, and the wave takes it this way and the wind blows it this way, and it's back and forth and back and forth. And a person who has wavering faith is unstable. They're unstable the scripture says in all their ways. A person says I'm not very stable. Look at your faith. What is it that's governing you? Are you governed by what people say or what God says? What I want you to see is God does not change. What he promises, he's going to keep no matter what.
Now, let's. A good example of that wavering faith would be this. When Peter and Jesus were in the boat, Jesus had been teaching and he said let me get in the boat with you and push you out from land and I'll be able to be heard better. Gets in the boat and finishes his message. When he finishes his message he says to Peter, Peter, let's go fishing. Now, this was the time that didn't exactly work the best in the world for Peter, because first of all, he was the fisherman, and he knew that fishing this time of day was absolutely not going to work. And Jesus said, let's go fishing. Find himself wavering. Fish this time. I heard him speaking. I know who he is. So he had a good reason for wavering in his faith.
Sometimes you'll face something you say, I know that's what God said. O but Lord, do you know all the details? Do you know what's going on in my life Lord? I know that's what you said. How can this possibly be? We waver in our faith for different reasons. What I want to do is talk about what some of those reasons are that cause us to waver in our faith and you'll see them on the screen. I want you to jot them down, as I said last week. Jot them in the back page of your Bible, somewhere you won't lose them of the because when you find yourself doubting, look at the last page of your Bible and say, wait a minute, could it be this, this, this? Times we don't understand what's happening. That's why I want you to jot these down. Why do we waver? Listen. We waver when trusting God is in conflict with human reasoning and you say like what?
Let's go back to Peter for a moment. There they are in the boat. When Jesus says, let's go fishing, here's what human reasoning said from Peter's point of view. It's a waste of time. I've been fishing on the sea of Galilee or years and years and years. I'm a fisherman. You're not a fisherman Jesus. You're a teacher. You're a prophet. You're a speaker. But I'm the fisherman. So I know that fish in the sea of Galilee do not bite in the middle of the day. They bite at nighttime. That's how we pull up the big troughs of fish. Just all kind of fish at nighttime. Human reason says, it's a waste of time. Jesus said let's go fishing. He gave into Jesus. Because of course, Jesus spoke with such authority, I'm sure there came a point he said forget what I think I'll do whatever he says. You recall they had a bunch of fish and the nets were full and breaking.
I'll give you a good example, simple example. If somebody said to you, I want to give you $10,000, but, I'm going to take a thousand of it. That belongs to God. But you're going to have more with nine thousand. Human reasoning says nine thousand dollars will never buy as much as $10,000. That's what human reason says. It's not reasonable. It's not reasonable. Nine thousand will buy more than ten thousand. Yes, it will. What he protects. I've lived long enough to tell you, you cannot fail or lose tithing your income. Reasoning doesn't work, often times with God. That's what faith is all about. Faith says, if I give him ten percent, my nine will buy more than that. That's what faith says. Lack of faith says, man, I've got o have all ten of it. No way in the world you can do that.
If you count from man's viewpoint, right. Look what you're doing. We're talking about omnipotent God who sent things in your life you never dreamed of. That's the kind of God he is. Read second chapter of Malachi and see what he promises. It will be overflowing. Watch this. God always rewards faith period. A second reason that we waver in our faith is we allow our feelings to overcome our faith. We say, well, I know that's what God said. Do you know what? I feel so unworthy. Your unworthiness has nothing to do with the blessings of God. You feel unworthy. I feel inadequate. I feel fear. What will people say? Criticism and failure and loss and all the rest. You're looking at the wrong thing. In other words, if God says, here's what I want to do in your life, trust him. What he's requiring of you may be difficult. Where he's requiring you to do may be difficult.
I can think of times people said to me, God told me to quit my job and they argued with God and argued with God and argued with God about it and they finally did. What happened? God gave them another job, far more money and blessings that came their way. Human reasoning says you don't quit your job without another one. Today that's real reasonable. If God tells you to quit it, you better quit it. If he tells you, I've got something better for you, you better trust him. God's not going to tell you to do something, listen, that he doesn't know what's going to happen on the other side of that. I'm not suggesting anybody quit that job. I'm suggesting you obey God and watch him work in your life. And oftentimes people are not willing to obey him.
Think about this. If you disobey him, you don't have any idea what could have been yours. If you had trusted him. God's not up to tricks. He's not a mystery God. He's a God who loves us. If he tells you not to do something he knows what's on the other side of something if you do it. This is my last chance. No, it isn't. If God is in control, and he is, he knows how to organize and arrange our life and when we should do things. Of course, we fail to see God at work in our circumstances, then we waver. One of the reasons we waver sometimes is he tells us to do something or we ask him about something. And it doesn't happen immediately. And so we resort by saying, well I must have been wrong in asking for that. No. I must have asked for the wrong thing. Not necessarily. Well I must this. So we waver.
And oftentimes, God is ready to answer your petition. But watch this. In his time. In his way. For example. If God is responding to a request that you made and he knows there's something in your life that's not right, watch this. Any time God wants to bless you, always uppermost in his thinking is where you are spiritually in your walk with him. If we live in sin and disobey God and God blesses us and blesses us what happens? We live in sin thinking we're getting by with it. If you ask God for something in your life and it's not happening, look at yourself first and say, Lord, what do you see in my life I need to deal with. 99 percent of the time you'll find something. So he wants to deal with that. Secondly, it maybe what you asked him for is his will. He wants to do it. He knows until you deal with that sin in your life, it won't work when you get out here because you'll mess up. That's what happens when we live in the will of God, trust him, keep something in our back pocket over here just for us that doesn't fit who God is and what his plan is for our life, what happens? He's protecting us.
Likewise one of the reasons he doesn't give it to us quickly, he gives you the blessing by saying, here's what I'm going to do? Trust me. God I'll trust you. A day goes by, week goes by, month goes by. I made a mistake. No. Trust me. He didn't say trust me in five days here's what I'll do. Most of the time God doesn't give us any details. The reason he doesn't give us any details is, he wants us to trust him. Here's what he's doing. You ask him about something. You feel this is what God wants me to do. It doesn't happen. What you don't know, what you don't realize it's the way God operates. He's over here working doing what? Getting the situation right so you can have what you ask. It's his will. The time has to be right. There may be other people involved. God knows for example if you're trying to buy a house and need to have it right now, he may know if you wait 60 days you can save $10,000. But you got to have it now. If I got to have it now, I won't walk by faith. How many instances can I give you personally and many of you can do the same thing.
So if I understand, if I understand how he works, then I understand that timing is very important to God. A good example. He said to Joshua, you March around Jericho seven times, seventh day seven times that day. Here's what I'll do. They probably Marched around it one time nothing happened, two times nothing. Three four five six, Joshua must be out of his mind. Seven times, what happened? The walls came down. All of us have walls in our life we want to come down today. We think, God you're late. No, he's not late. Listen. Whatever God gives, he gives the best. He doesn't give second rate anything. We're the ones who get in trouble by insisting on doing it our way, our timing instead of trusting God. Then, of course, when we listen to negative counsel from other people.
Now remember this, there isn't anybody in this world who know perfectly the will of God for you but God. There isn't anybody in this world who knows when your life will end but God. In other words, there's nobody who knows the circumstances of your life, nobody who knows how well you're equipped or how ill will you're equipped. Nobody knows you like God. When you ask him about something, then you start listening to other people. Most of the time, watch this carefully. If you've got friends who are not doing very well and you talk about how God will bless you, I hate to say this, do you know what they're attitude is? How will God bless you? He's not blessing me. What happens? Am I right? Amen. Now say amen. You know it's true. Because, that's the way old human nature is.
So the best thing to do, if you ask God about something, don't ask anybody else. If God said here's what I want you to do, watch this, it doesn't make any difference what anybody else thinks. As long as you got the mind of God, you can live with that. And he's going to give you clear guidance for what you ought to do. You can't trust God and everybody else. I'm not saying don't trust anybody. I'm simply saying this. If God leads you in a particular direction and you know he has, what difference does it make? Listen. You don't have to answer to everybody else. You just answer to God. Who is the blesser? Not your friends but God. Trust him. Then, of course, when we focus on our circumstances rather than God we're going to waver. I think of times what happens? The more you focus on your difficulty or hardship or even pain when you're suffering, the more you focus on it, what happens? The bigger it gets. I've been going through this. I've been going through that. If your friends listen to you, I'm so sorry. I feel so sorry for you. The more pity they give you, the bigger it gets, and the bigger it gets, the more you doubt God. The issue is focus.
When I think of focus I think of many instances in the Bible. One of the primary ones is Daniel in the lion's den. So the Bible says he slept with the lions all night. If he had been focused on lions he wouldn't have been sleeping. He would be over in the corner down somewhere hoping they wouldn't see him or something. And it brings me back to one of my favorite illustrations where God just did something for me in one of the most difficult times in my life. It probably was up to the very top. And this lady came to see me. And she said, I want you to have lunch with me then I want to take you up to my apartment and show you something. She was about 70 something and I was about 30 something, so I felt pretty safe. We ate lunch. I went to see her. I was going through a very difficult time at church. They were doing their best to try to get rid of me.
So she, we walked in. She said, now don't sit down. I want to show you something. Walked over and showed me this picture of Daniel in the lion's den. She said, now son, I want you to tell me what you see. I said, well, and I can still remember looking at the picture. This lion over here looking up. This one looking down. I saw the bones. So I thought of everything this little lady would possibly thought about it. She said do you see anything else? I said no. She said, if you notice, and the picture had all these lions and Daniel had his hands behind him looking at a ray of light. She said, what I want you to see is Daniel did you want have his eyes on the lions but on God. It was like God hugged me that day. Because from that moment on, all of my fears disappeared. All of my uncertainties and a lot of other things probably disappeared because she got my focus right.
When you focus on the trouble and heartache and burden and pain, it gets bigger and we feel less confident, less significant and overwhelmed. Because remember this. Daniel was looking at omnipotence who created the lions. He could shut the lion's mouth. He could have killed everyone of them in a second. He let them hang around while Daniel we want to sleep that night. Before he probably went to sleep he woke up and just remind him of God because he was where he was because he had obeyed God and God delivered him. It's where your focus is. When I think about faith, if I could think of any other word that joins me to faith, it's focus. As long as I'm focused on him and what he says in his word, and being in his word and looking at him rather than circumstances. This unconditional, loving God, I know he'll see me through whatever it might be no matter what it is.
Then of course when we're ignorant of God's ways I've mentioned it several different times. That is if I don't understand his ways I'll question him. What is his ways? The best way to describe that is this. Watch this. God always operates on the basis of principles. Not on the basis of feelings and how we feel. On principles. For example, the simplest one is we reap more than we so more than we sow and later than we sow. God always operates. He doesn't change that. For example, one of the principles is, obey God and leave all the consequences to him. I'll do what he says and let him take care of the consequences. For example he says one of the principles is God acts in behalf of those who wait for him.
So if I'm going to act on the basis of principle, then I know I'm going to be heading in the right direction, doing the right thing, because God operates on principles. That's the reason you and I can learn how to relate to him. If I don't understand his ways, I'll say, God what are you up to? He's just up to doing and being who he says he is. You can come up with most any problem, and I believe, give me a little time, and I can come up with a principle to say, if you obey this principle, watch with a happens. Because God wants us to obey him. Listen. Leave the consequences to him.
Let me ask you a question. Is there any consequence of your obedience God can't handle? Right? None. He can handle every one of them. Well if I obey him and leave the consequences to him, here's what happens. I'll be able to have peace and a sense of joy and confidence and assurance. It doesn't make any difference what's going on because he's in control. If I'm obeying him he's already taken care of it. Listen, the only thing that can happen in your life is what God allows. If you're a chimed of God, what he allows he allows for a reason. I may not like it and there's been many times I didn't like it. Do you know what he said? Nothing, nothing. He just let me hammer away with it and deal with it until I finally said, God, I know you're right. I don't like this. I know you're right. That's what your word says. Even though I don't like it. I want you to have your way no matter what. You can't lose. Then of course one of the other reasons is simply this. Guilt over your past or present sin.
Watch this. When you're living with guilt in your life or living with sin in your life, you're going to have a very difficult time trusting God. Because sin short circuits the power of God in a person's life. And one of the reasons that he did you want answer a lot of people's petitions, because they somehow overlook. They think somehow I can sin a little bit here and sin a little bit there and sin a little bit here and sin a little bit there. God will overlook that. He doesn't overlook that because sin is a destroyer. Sin a destroyer and warps our thinking. When we have, for example, let's just say that something happened back yonder in your life. You've never been able to forgive yourself for.
Watch this. Here's what you're saying. The Bible says if I confess my sin and repent of that sin, he's faithful and just, always does, has the right to, to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. That's the law of God. That's his promise. If I trust him, I'm going to accept his forgiveness and move on. If I don't trust his promise of forgiveness, I have that weight, that load of unforgiveness, that burden on my continually. What I'm saying is, God, I know that's what you promised. Now, watch this carefully. But God, you lied. Would you call God a liar? But you do. When you refuse to accept his forgiveness and you keep carrying guilt and sin in your life that you asked him to forgive you and cleanse you of and you still have it, what you said is I know that's what you said but it's not true.
Now, if I said that to you, you would say, are you calling me a liar? Listen. The very idea of calling God a liar is obnoxious to us. It's hard for me to say it. What I want you to see is it's reality. He says here's what I'm going to do. You say, no, you're not. Then you called him a liar. You want to get in real trouble? Just keep calling him a liar. When you can trust him. And believe what he says. And oftentimes we fail to do it. Go back to chapter 11 in Mark. I want you to see something interesting here. I won't read that same passage again but I'm going to come to the end of it. When he says in verse 22, have faith in God. Let's move on down to verse 24 when he says, therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them and they'll be granted to you.
Look at the next verse. Whenever you stand praying, forgive. If you have anything against anyone so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions but if you do not forgive neither will your Father in heaven forgive your transgressions. That's not talking about if you sin you're no longer saved. He's talking about daily sins. If I don't confess and deal with it, what? It's standing between God and me and I have to deal with it. It's interesting he put that verse right after talking about answered prayer because he knows what sin does in a person's life. It just cancels out what God desires to do.
So then the last thing I mentioned is when we listen to the lies of satan, what happens? We're not going to trust him. Remember what he said to eve. O eve, God didn't, he didn't mean that you would surely die. He just couched it in a way she fell for it. When you listen to the devil's lies and you say does satan talk to you? Where do you think all that stuff comes from? Where does all lust and sin and disobedience and hatred and animosity and unforgiveness come from? Satan will tell you, look, God understands how you feel. Look what they did to you. God doesn't expect you to forgive them. You just go your way and don't worry about it. That's the devil's lie. And he's full of them. One of the reasons people don't have what they need. The reason they don't have any peace and joy in their life is simply they are listening to the wrong voice. And the devil will trap you with trying to deceive you into thinking what he's saying is true.
Now, let's talk about the consequences for just a moment. I'll list them rather quickly. What are the consequences of not trusting him? Having wavering faith. Yes, he will. No, he won't. We become double minded. That's what he says in the passage. If you don't trust him, you're a double minded man. I think he will. No, he won't. I think he can. I'm not sure. Likewise we become unstable in our ways. A person who can't make up their mind or a person who cannot accept their focus on God and follow him and obey him is unstable in all their ways. You and I know plenty of people like that. They don't understand what's going on. They think that's just life.
Many people have accepted a very low level of living when God never intended them to live in that fashion. Likewise, we'll miss the blessings of God. That's one of the most evident things. You don't trust him. You miss the blessings. What does he have for his children? He has the best. I know folks who have more than I have this, that and the other. You don't know what more than you have is doing in their life. It may be good. It may not be good. If God gave it to them, it's one thing. God knows what you and I can handle. He knows what is best for us in certain times in our life. All of us can look back and say, God, why did it take me so long to get to this place? Why did it take me so long to learn this, whatever it might be?
All of us are different. God loves every single one of us unconditional. There's nobody he loves anymore than he loves everyone else. He put us in this life. He has a purpose, will and plan. I may not always be able to understand it. But one thing for certain, I know his blessings will come in his perfect timing and he knows what that perfect time something. And we, listen, if you and I knew, if anybody knew, especially a lost person, if you knew what you were missing as a result of not trusting God as your Savior, putting your life in his hands, you would get saved immediately. But you don't know that. A believer living in sin, a backslidden life, do you know what you're missing? You're missing the best of God's blessings. Because he desires to bless us with his best. Then, of course, continuous wavering destroys our faith.
When you say yes he will, no he won't. You get in the habit and after a while you don't believe anything. I tried and it didn't work. I trusted him. He didn't come through. God always comes through. The issue is, am I in a position for him to bless me in trusting him. We mislead other people. I think about parents who disobey God, don't trust God, they sit around the table at night moaning and groaning because this happened to them. Or they lost this. Why did God treat them that way? What are you doing? You're drilling into your children's minds that God isn't trustworthy, you can't really trust him, he's not really who he says he is. Forget this Bible business. What? You destroy your children's faith.
You impact, listen, you impact other people. You mislead them. As a result, we lose our influence. When you go to work every day and you're complaining about this and complaining about that. They say what's wrong with them? What's happening to them? We have an influence and testimony. We can make an impact or fail. The greatest way to make the greatest impact is trusting God and allowing people to watch how God works in your life. It's costly, very costly not to trust him. And one of the reasons it is, we make wrong decisions. If he tells me to do something and I don't do it, I make a wrong decision, I suffer the results.
The unbeliever looks at you. Well if your God is all that good, why doesn't he provide for you? So they have a right to expect you and me to live above what is a natural normal life that they think about. Very, very costly. We make wrong decisions. It cost us our peace, for one thing. You can't have a staggering wavering faith that's on today, off tomorrow and have any peace whatsoever. Jesus said, don't be anxious about anything. God doesn't want us living with anxiety and worry. He wants us living in trust. Believing him. And we can always rest in his awesome faithfulness to us. Then, of course, as we say, we make costly decisions. Those decisions often time financial decision, relationship decisions and work decisions. They are costly.
When we fail to trust him, it always cost us something. Sometimes a great deal. Then it will discourage your prayer life. Why should I pray? I trusted God and this didn't happen. Did you real will you trust him? Were you really going by feelings? Was it on today and off tomorrow? Then I would say one last thing, how do we correct this? How can we get our faith steady, focused no matter what is going on? There's several things. Number one. When you, listen, when you begin to waver in your faith, stop and ask yourself these questions, very important questions, stop and ask yourself, you find yourself wavering. You think you know what God said. You're not sure.
Listen to these questions. Number one. Where do these doubts come from? One of the first question you ought to ask. When you ask the question where does the doubt come from? Does this sound like God? Is this the way God acts? Oftentimes you'll say, God will never say that. According to the scripture that's not the way God operates. You ask yourself the question, where do these thoughts come from. Secondly, ask yourself this question. Has God ever failed me in the past? And the answer is, no, he has not. Has he ever failed me in the past? Why do I think he's going to fail me now? The third question is this. Did God not promise to meet all of my needs?
And you look in the scripture and go to Philippians four, what does he say? My God will supply all of your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. If he's not, there must be something going on in my life I need to deal with. The fourth question is this. Did he not give me the Holy Spirit to enable me to achieve and to do whatever he called me to do? Yes, he did. What is going on in my life I'm struggling in my faith? Then, of course, did he not promise to be with me at all times? Here I am worried about this. Thinking I'm going through this by myself. Didn't he promise to be with me in every circumstance? Yes, he did. He said I'll never fail you nor desert you or fail you under any circumstance. If that's true, I know whatever I'm going through, I can trust God that he's going to go with me through it. He'll preserve me. He'll protect me. He'll teach me what he wants me to learn if I just listen to him carefully.
And then the question, is there anything too hard for God? What would you say to that? Well three people said, no. What would you say to the question, is anything too hard for God? Right. Then, if I'm facing a difficulty, where should my focus be? Not on the difficulty but upon my Father in whom there's nothing too difficult. And of course, watch this last one. Is this one of those forks in the road? Is this one of the those forks in the road where my unbelief could cost me for a whole life time, a lifetime of regret? Write it down. Is this one of those situations in which the wrong decision, lack of faith, failing to trust him could cost me in my future awesome of my life that I would have to end up saying, if I had, if I had this, if I had that, if I had the other. How do I correct it?
I ask myself some questions. Watch this carefully. The second thing I'm going to do, I'm going to meditate upon the word of God , watch this. Daily, unhurriedly, and applying what I read. If I want my faith to be steady, I'll be meditating upon the word of God, which means I read it, I ask him what it means to me. I'm not going to get in a hurry, I'm going to apply it to my life and ask him to show me, what are you saying in this passage? Watch this. God speaks in different ways, one of the most accurate primary way God speaks to us is through his word. And the question is, what is he saying?
Somebody says, well God's never spoken to me. Oh, yes he has. Yes, he has. That's what this book is all about. God speaking to us. If I'm going through a situation and I want to correct my wavering faith I'll ask the questions, get in the word, listen. I'll meditate on it carefully. And I think oftentimes we need to do it privately. And I'm going to apply what I read. I'll not listen to what he's saying. And I'm not going to doubt him because he knows I'm a coming to the word seeking an answer and seeking clarification. Likewise , I'm going to try to recall instances in the past when I was troubled and God faithfully answered my petition. This is why I say, you should have a Bible whatever Bible you have, and it ought to be one with enough margin in it you have room to write in it.
Then when you come to one of the situations and God speaks to your heart through a particular verse, write in the margin a date, one or two words what that is. Do you know when happens? After a while your Bible becomes a biography of God working in your life. I would never tell anybody how to read the Bible necessarily, but I'll give you a suggestion. When I'm reading and meditating on the word of God, I do not use this Bible right here. You say, you preach out of it. That's right. When I open this Bible, I'm going to work. I'm listening to God for what he wants to say to me. But to me primarily, to me to you. What do I do? For my own private devotion, I read two different Bibles. You say, do they say something different?
No. They say it in a different way. One of them is the living Bible because it's so down to earth and casual the way it's written, but it's true. And I will usually read either that or another version, or you would say I have to go get me another one. No. You have the right version. The one you have in your hand that I preach from is the most accurate. It's the most accurate translation. It's boxy. It's not easy to memorize. The old king James version is the best Bible to memorize. It just flows. This thing doesn't flow like that at all, but it's the most accurate. What I'm after is God, what did you say? How did you say it? I want to make sure what I read to somebody else is exactly what you said.
When I'm reading for my own personal devotion, listen, I don't have you in mind. Sorry. I have me in mind. What does God want to say to me? You have to decide how you read the word of God. But read it. And ask, remember what we said. Read it carefully, unhurriedly and prayerfully. And you read it for God to speak to you. And you are reading it very sincerely, God, my heart is open to what you have to say. Then I would say, courageously, choose to obey him. Leave all the consequences to him. There's sometimes it will take a lot of courage to trust him.
I think about my son Andy when he was just about five years of age and we had him at the pool learning to swim. I'll never forget this as long as I live. Andy, it's your turn to dive in. And I look at him, and he's walking around the pool like this... Talking to God about giving him the courage to jump in. And I thought about how many times, God, I haven't been in a pool but I've been in front of a lot of other things saying, Lord, give me a courage to take a leap. And I can tell you, in all these years I've lived the Christian life, I've never leaped and regretted it. Not one time. I couldn't tell you enough how awesome it is to trust God.
And the thing about you're living your life without him, let me tell you, it is foolish. It is a disaster. You're suffering for things you wouldn't have to suffer for. You don't have what God would provide for you. He's a great God of goodness and love and mercy and kindness and generosity to his children. If you've never trusted him as your personal Savior, nothing I've said will work for you. It's when first of all you come to grips with your life and recognize Jesus Christ is the son of God, whom he sent into this world on your behalf and mine in order to die on the cross. And in doing so, he took all the sin of all humanity placed it on him and condemned him, listen, condemned him with the death that those without him would suffer one day. But he only suffered it for that short period of time for all of us.
When you're willing to ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and tell him you're trusting him as your personal Savior. You're not trusting in your goodness. You're trusting him as your personal Savior. You're believing his death paid your sin debt in full. Asking him to forgive you. Receiving him as your Savior, your Lord and your master. The moment you do that, he's willing to forgive you and set you on a whole new path. And the path I'm talking about is the path I just finished talking about. It's the walk of faith that you'll be happy and grateful to God from the first day you took that step. And that's my prayer for you. In the face of challenges, believers who recall the faithfulness of God find faith that doesn't waver.