Cured Through Forgiveness
Text: Mark 1:40- 2:1-12
Karl Menninger, the famed psychiatrist said that if he could convince the patients in psychiatric hospitals that theirs sins are forgiven, 75 percent of them could walk out the next day.
I. The Message of Forgiveness (Mark 2:1-6)
” who can forgive sins but God.”
・ Nothing is more foreign, seemingly, to sinful human nature than forgiveness. And nothing is more characteristic of divine nature than forgiveness.
・ Man is eager for vengeance but God is eager for forgiveness.
・ Forgiveness is man’s greatest need and therefore God’s greatest gift provided for, our need to be Forgiven.
・ What is palsy? “There is paralysis which gradually kills the body, binding it more and more surely into utter helplessness. The nerve power is almost destroyed; the power of motion is entirely suspended, and yet the mind remains in tact, though greatly weakened, and some of them almost extinguished. Some scholars believe that this man had a paralyisis known as Universal Paralysis, which very quickly brings on death.” (Charles Spurgeon)
・ Like the palsy man sin paralyzes our ability to love God, we have no ability to know God, no ability to please God, no ability to serve God, no ability to obey God and thus we stand in offense to God continually.
・ The verdict of God on man is that man in an unforgiven state is helpless and hopeless to live for God, or please God just as much as the condition of paralysis completely handicaps.
・ And by all human measurements and all legal measurements, man is in an absolutely impossible situation and thus dependent upon the mercy of God.
・ This is why the scribes say, who can forgive sins but God. The message of forgiveness for the scribes and to us is this: Jesus is God and can forgive sins
II. The Motive of Forgiveness? (mark 1:40-41)
“And Jesus moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him and saying unto him, “I will, be thou clean”
・ The essential element, the core, the heart of forgiveness is not the remission of the penalty, it’s not the escape from hell. The heart of the gospel is the motive that allowed and afforded for God to forgive-love!
・ This is where we see the essence of the gospel. At the center of the gospel is the motive that made God willing to sacrifice what was necessary to forgive sin.
“for God so loved the world ”
・ However, love alone could not justify the guilty, there must be restitution made, Justice had to be met against the sinner
• Proverbs 17:15. “He that justifieth the wicked and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord.”
・ Illustration: judge’s verdict is forgiveness, that would not be justice, forgiveness has no place in the hall of justice.
・ You see, God’s word says, It is an abomination to justify the sinner, and yet that is exactly what God does in the Gospel. God justifies the guilty!
・ What God will not allow us to do for the sake of justice, God Himself has done. He justifies the ungodly.
・ Paul writes further, quoting from Psalm 32,
“Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whom the Lord will not impute sin.
・ The motive of the Just and the justifier is the motive of Love
・ When it seemed that there was no way to justify a sinner according to the law God His compassion found a way.
III. The Means of Forgiveness (Mark 2:8-11)
“whether it is easier to say to the sick of the palsy, thy sins be forgiven thee, or to say, Arise take up thy bed and walk, but that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins.
・ How can God be just and the justifier of sinners?
・ God designed a plan, before the foundations of the earth, by which His Son would take the sinner’s place and pay the penalty for the sinner’s sin. So that justice would be satisfied in the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
“He made Him who knew no sin to become sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
・ What we could not do for ourselves, justify sin, God has done it for us. God can do what He alone can do and that is He can justify the ungodly, and forgive the sinner.
“For Christ is the end of law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.” (Rom 10:4)
・ God is the judge, the lawgiver, the executioner, and the only one therefore with the power and authority to pardon the guilty sinner.
・ And that is the message of Christianity. That is the singular heart and soul of the gospel, the good news that God devised a plan, that God carried out that plan in the sacrificial death of His Son, that all who might repent from their sin and by faith receive His Son, will by Divine grace receive the forgiveness of sins.
o Ephesians 1:6-7 “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”
o “Without the shedding of Blood there is no remission of sin”
o Psalm 103:12 “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”
o Hebrews 8:12 “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more”
o Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
o Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
IV. The Mandate of the Forgiven (Mark 2:11)
“Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.”
・ Those of us that are forgiven are to walk differently, we are given a command from God and with that command is given a heart to obey, and a power to perform.
・ It was not thesis own power the palsy man was able to walk, but by the power of the Lord, that was present with Him.
“and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.” (Luke 5:17)
“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Rom 8:11)
“Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24
・ The mandate of the forgiven is that we are to go home forgiven and be different, our homes are to be different, our relationships are to be different, forgiveness effects every aspect of our lives.
・ To be forgiven by God, and to extend forgiveness to others is to set the prisoner free, and than discovering that prisoner was you.
V. The Miracle of the Forgiven (Mark 2:12)
“We never saw it on this fashion.”
Just like the man with paralyzes had to overcome some obstacles to get to Jesus for forgiveness, so our Addicts will have some barriers to forgiveness:
Barrier #1: “What I have done is too bad. I know that God is forgiving, but I cannot be forgiven for this.”
This barrier ensnares many sincere believers because it gives such a strong appearance of sadness over sin. It feels like a righteous response; we don’t want to downplay the gravity of our sin.
Yet an honest look at the above statement shows that it is not really humble nor is it true. In effect, it implies that Christ’s death was not enough to pay for all sin. It is as though we are saying, “His atonement covers the sins of the rest of the world, but it cannot cover my sin”
We have made our particular sin out to be uniquely bad and Christ’s payment to be inadequate.
What a far cry this is from the truth! If our sin is an exception to God’s forgiveness, then Scripture lies because it declares,
“And it shall come to pass, that whosever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be saved” (Acts 2:21). No exceptions!
The truth is that our sin is no worse (and no better) than the rest of humanity’s. All sin is evil in the Lord’s sight. Yet Christ’s death is sufficient to pay the debt of sin.
“For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, “purge your conscience” from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews Hebrews 9:13-14
Christ’s blood is more than enough — many, many times over — to cover all the wrong we’ve ever done and will ever do. No sin is beyond God’s forgiveness.
Barrier #2: “I must punish myself for my sins in order to be forgiven.”
We have a natural desire to pay for our sins. Logically, we understand that wrong actions deserve punishment, and we may feel an odd sense of satisfaction in being punished (or punishing ourselves!) for our sins.
Our feelings of guilt and rejection become the penance (self-punishment) for our sin to win back God’s favor.
It is true that our sins deserve terrible punishment — which Christ endured for us. It is not true that we must add our own punishment to Christ’s. Personal pain adds no atoning value to Christ’s sacrifice.
Our forgiveness came at a very high cost to our Lord, and this cost is quite sufficient to pay for what we have done.
While we must still make recompense when we have wronged another person, we must not continually torture ourselves when the Lord has already forgiven us. Jesus has paid our penalty. We cannot add to Christ’s sacrifice for our sins.
24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Hebrews 9:24-26
Barrier #3: “I know that God has forgiven me, but that doesn’t matter. I cannot forgive myself.”
Again, this seems like a very righteous response. It seems flippant to simply accept God’s forgiveness and “dismiss” our sin. Intellectually, we may know that Christ’s death is enough to pay for our sins, but that doesn’t matter to a misconstrued guilty conscious.
We know how wrong we were — too wrong to be let off the hook so easily.
Yet as we look closely at this thought barrier to forgiveness, we realize this response is not righteous at all, rather, just the opposite. By saying that we cannot forgive ourselves, we elevate our judgment above the Lord’s.
It is a presumption to think that we know better than He does. What right do we have to hang onto something that God released?
Do we think He doesn’t know every sordid detail of every sin? Are we wiser than He? If He has forgotten it, why would we think that it is more honorable to hold on to it? Seen in this light, the folly of this barrier is much clearer.
Scripture never tells us to forgive ourselves. When we try to “forgive” ourselves, we are attempting the impossible.
・ If an unbeliever forgives himself he is still in his sin.
・ If a believer forgives himself he is taking the place of God.
・ Forgiveness assumes an innocent party has been wronged, and it is the job of the person who has been wronged to forgive. The offending party is the one that receives forgiveness. We are the offenders; God is the one who has been wronged, since our sin is rebellion against Him.
・ By focusing on forgiving ourselves, we have taken the spotlight off of God and pointed it at us — making it doubly difficult to let go of our sin!
・ Any teaching that emphasizes a need to forgive oneself is in fact trusting and exalting SELF instead of relying solely on the promises of God.
・ Forgiving self comes from the same humanistic, psychological roots as self love, self-worth, and self-esteem. These are for people whose god is self–not for those whose God is the Lord.
・ He has forgiven us. We must simply receive that forgiveness and rest in it. That means releasing those sins we want to hold on to, refusing to revisit them in our minds, and allowing the truth of our forgiveness to cover us with His peace.
・ Absolution from the Lord is far more powerful than absolution from oneself. What we need is not to forgive ourselves, but to receive the forgiveness of God!
“And he is the propitiation (satisfactory sacrifice) for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (I John 2:2)
God never desired for us to forgive ourselves nor to forget our sins, it is god’s desire to forgive and forget, but it is our purpose to be forgiven of ours sins:
1. If you could forget your sins- you could never testify of the goodness of God.
2. If we could forget our sins we would not be learned against doing them again.
3. We could not rejoice in our victories if we could not remember.
More, more about Jesus,
More more about Jesus;
More of His saving fullness see,
More of His love who died for me!
And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
Barrier #4: “Because I am still suffering the effects from my sin, God must not have forgiven me.”
・ It is easy to confuse natural consequences with God’s punishment; however, they are different.
・ If you jump from a lofty ledge, you may sprain your ankle. God did not cause your ankle to twist to punish you. Gravity drew you back to the earth’s surface (and quickly!). Your pain was simply a consequence of your action.
・ In the same way, sins for which we have been forgiven long ago may still have consequences in our lives. According to Romans 5:9-10, God saves us from His wrath:
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his j, mu more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
Our punishment has been paid in Christ. As believers, we are forgiven for our actions and are at peace with God even when the consequences from our evil action remain in our lives.
Barrier #5: “God has allowed too much suffering into my life; I cannot forgive God for what He has done.”
The person struggling with this last barrier has usually suffered greatly. The pain from life’s losses can feel overwhelming, and the instinctive response may be to lash out at the Sovereign God for not stopping it.
Examples of bitterness toward God:
1.I’ve been a faithful giver and tither, yet I cannot get my head above this mountain of debt no matter how much I give or pray, what’s the deal?
2. I’m almost forty and still single. How come God won’t bring some one into my life?
3. I really stood in faith for months. I really thought I heard from God on this, but it never happened, now look at me.
4. I was really counting on that job, and it should have been mine, but I may as well have prayed to the wind, for what good did it do.
5. You can’t imagine the physical pain I go through each day, why won’t God heal me, he heals others?
6. I reared my children like the JONES, and look how my kids turned out, Why didn’t God help my children like he help the jones?
7. Because of my addiction, I have lost everything, family, business, health, time..friends, and the damage is irreversible, it is too late for me, why didn’t God save me earlier.
All of these statements boil down to two factors:
God did not prevent something from happening to me.God didn’t do something positive for me.
I’ve known people to get mad at God for everything from not winning the lottery, to losing a loved one. And guess what, neither of these to extremes is any more valid an excuse than the other.
There is no acceptable excuse to be angry at God for anything. However, we are human and humans are foolish creatures. So to get out of the prison that we cast ourselves into, we need to see precisely what the bars are made of:
1. Unrealistic expectations toward God’s Sovereignty
We presume that since “God is in control” we have a right to expect him to keep bad things from happening to us.
“But our God is in the heavens; He hath done -whatever He hath pleased” (Psalm 115:3).
2. Obligatory expectations derived from a works philosophy
Because of what I have done, God is obligated to do specific things in my life.
Whatever, you may have been taught, God is not under an absolute obligation to give you a hundred fold return for what you gave a televangelist, nor to pay your bills when you are living above your means, nor is He obligated to heal our diseases, etc.
There are indeed times God supernaturally intervenes in such ways, but these are acts of grace alone.
For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
Although Paul is talking about our justification with God, he is also illustrating a principle that everything God does for us, He does through grace”
If God gave use what we deserve, we deserve Hell, and nothing short of it.
3. A Misconception of the goodness of God
A denial that God is always good. (it is easier to be an atheist than believe God is evil) most atheist are just people that are angry with God
As a result of the fall, we still suffer from the consequences of living in a fallen world, from the sins of others, and from our own sin.
The Lord has the right to allow difficult things into our lives. In His wisdom He has chosen to wait before blotting out all pain from the earth.
Some well-meaning counselors may say that when suffering is over sorrow need to “forgive God” for the things you have suffered.
Yet never in Scripture are we asked to forgive God. God has not wronged us. God is ultimately the only truly wronged party, as He is the only One who is truly innocent.
It is we who have sinned against Him. In His graciousness, He has chosen to pay the penalty for our sins Himself and save us. If you are holding on to anger against the Lord, let His grace melt your bitterness. Only in submission to Him will you find peace. Anger toward is keeping you from the only one that can heal you.
Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
May you find the strength and the peace of the Lord today through both the reality of and the experience of His forgiveness..
To be forgiven by God, and to extend forgiveness to others is to set the prisoner free, and than discovering that prisoner was you.
GOD SAVE MY APPETITES!
Text: Psalms 63
I Corinthians 6:13, Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
I Peter 2:2 “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
Proverbs 23: 1,2 “When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.” Isaiah 29:8 “It shall even be as when an hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite: so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion.”
God designed mankind with appetites. Our instinctive nature has appetites that sustain the species, but we are obviously far more complex. In Psalm 63, David speaks to us across time, and culture about his insatiable appetite to maintain his relationship with God. The Bibles says that David thirsts for God. He thinks about God all day and all the night. In the process, David frames his relationship with God as this powerful appetite.
Have you ever heard the saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink?” People will not desire God unless they have an appetite for God! Do you right now have an “appetite” for God? If not, why not?
What is an appetite? An appetite is a thing desired.” Desire drives appetite. God has given every person what we call “Base” hungers, and they are common to all human beings. They include things like hunger, thirst, rest, comfort, community, and intimacy. These desires are called “base” hungers because they are essential to our survival as a species. In addition to these “base” hungers, we also have what are called “Selective” appetites. These appetites are unique to our individual personality.
Examples of “selective” appetites include a hunger for things like control, security, reputation, comfort, affirmation, friendship, power, etc. The simpler example of selective appetites—your favorite color, what kind of food you like, what style clothes you prefer, what sports team, hobby, etc. When these selective appetites are combined with our base hungers, it can make for a very long list.
What is the purpose of having appetites? An appetite drives the will to action. God has given us appetites for a needful function. Appetite give you the “motivation” to go out and get it! If there be no appetite, the will stay inactive. It can be a satisfying thing when appetite meets the object of its desire. (Charles Spurgeon) “There was a gentleman who habitually took an early morning walk and frequently met a poor man hastening to his labor. One morning he said to the poor man, “I have to walk thus early of a morning to get a stomach for my meat.” “Ah,” said the other, “and I have to trudge to work thus early to get meat for my stomach.” Neither of them was quite satisfied with his position: the happy conjunction of the appetite and the food could alone secure contentment.
For the child of God, God has given each of us new “Spiritual” appetite. Mostly, an appetite for Him! God has written “appetite” for Himself in the DNA of His children. For the Christian, a hunger for God ought to be the most powerful “mover” in your life.
What is wrong with our appetite? Satan’s plan for our demise is to entice our appetite. Satan desires to entice our base hungers and selective appetites to spoil our spiritual appetite. “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust (forbidden appetite), and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, it bringeth forth death.” James 1:14-15
If Satan can entice (lure) the appetite, then He can control the “will” and in turn control our actions! In the Garden of Eden, Satan desired a certain action from Adam and Eve. He wanted them to disobey God. Satan’s subtle plan was to control their behavior by enticing their base and selective appetites. Once he seized Eve’s appetite for the forbidden fruit, and Adam’s appetite to console and comfort Eve, Satan then through the appetite drove their will to his predicted action—to disobey God.
“Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” (Genesis 3:1-6)
There are three primary appetites that Satan will entice to seize your will. (I John 2:15-17) “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
- The lust of the flesh which is a consuming desire to do.
- The lust of the eyes which is a compelling desire to have.
- The pride of life which is a competitive urge to be.
Ill. Steve Curington said, If you were able to accomplish everything in life that you wanted to do, you would only have 1/3 of the world. On top of that, if you could obtain everything in the world that you wanted to possess, you would only have acquired 2/3 of the world. If you could also be everything that you wanted to be in life, you would have acquire the last third of the whole world. However, it would be to the expense of your soul. The soul is eternal, but the world is temporal. To lose the eternal to gain the temporal is not a trade up at all. (Luke 12:16-21)
You see if you could accomplish all three of these worldly appetites you would have to do it at the expense of knowing and pleasing God. (Phil 3:10)
In Mark 8:31-37, Jesus is telling the disciples the suffering that He would endure in the near future. He would go to a cross. Peter is quick to deny that suffering. Peter has another plan for Jesus and for himself, one that involves a Kingdom. Jesus says to Peter, “Get behind me Satan, for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.” He calls the disciples together and says to the gathering crowd also, “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life shall save it. For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
God’s will for your life might not be a kingdom, but a cross. In fact, let me re-phrase that! God’s will for your life is a cross and not a kingdom, at least not a kingdom here. (John 14) But don’t lose sight of the Kingdom friend (John 14) Just don’t expect one here. If you seek it here, it is going to cost you your relationship with God, and maybe even your own soul.
Jesus was tempted by Satan in these same three areas of appetite. However, Jesus choose the cross not the kingdom, at least not the Kingdom now. Sometimes the appetite is not wrong, but the timing is wrong, and the means to that appetite is wrong. Jesus was choosing the Kingdom but in God’s timing and by God’s means. It is a beautiful thing to come home and know that everything that you have God gave you in his timing and by His means. (small or great, it doesn’t matter it is all satisfying)
Let God give you the Kingdom, don’t seek it yourself. Seek the cross! The key to the Christian life is to seek a cross not a kingdom, and if God should give you anything less than a cross than you wont be disappointed, but if the cross be your lot, than glory in the cross, for you were chosen to carry you cross for Christ sake!
The truth of matter is, that your appetite for the world will never be satisfied. Solomon the wisest man that ever lived was not so wise to seek all his hearts desire only to find his appetite was never satisfied. Ecc 6:7 “All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.”
Isaiah 29:8 “It shall even be as when an hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite: so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion.”
Illustration: The Eskimos have an interesting way of killing wolves. They take a sharp knife, dip in in seal fat, and plant it blade up in the snow. A hungry wolf will smell the seal fat, which he loves, find the knife, and begin to lick it. As soon as he licks it, he tastes blood—his own blood. But he loves the taste of blood, so he licks more and more, until he finally kills himself. What he thought at first was really living was actually killing him.
Gorging yourself on the world and its sinful pleasures is like that. At first it tastes good, but it’s really destroying you. Only Jesus ultimately satisfies the soul. Only Jesus can reconcile you to God and give you real life—abundant life—that begins now and continues through all eternity.
Adam and Eve yielded to the appetites for the world rather than God. This is the same perpetual sin that Christians struggle with every day. Notice that Satan tempted them when God was no longer walking with them. We are most vulnerable for the appetite of this world and for sinful forbidden pleasures when we distance ourselves from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Even the best of Christians do not always have an appetite for God or for the things of God. It is during these vulnerable times that we must deny our appetites and yield ourselves to God. The appetite does not have to rule our will. Proverbs 23: 1,2 reads, “When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.”
A man that can be ruled through appetite alone is a weaker man than he who’s ruled by principle. However, a man that has both appetite and principle pulling in the same direction is a dangerous man. When God has both our appetite and obedience we are dangerous men, and unstoppable men!
TURN TO PROVERBS: 23
Ill. It is one thing to be principled man and deny your appetite. It is not as enjoyable but possible. It is another thing when appetite and principle share in the same pleasure.
Example: I hate to run but I know I should. Because of principled in spite of my flesh telling me no, I endure against my appetite to not exercise. Then after a while of enduring my appetite changes, and that which was drudgery becomes a desire an appetite, and even a pleasure. Now principle and appetite are no longer at odds but friends.
Adam and Eve was tempted with the tree of knowledge of good and evil verses a relationship with God. It is one thing to know good and evil it is another thing to have good rule over evil. While they walked with God in the Garden in the cool of the day good prevailed over evil in their lives. In fact, Adam and Eve did not know evil.
But once their relationship with God became distant the serpent approached and tempted their appetite.
Secondly, Satan with cunning words caused Eve to question God’s word and principles.
Thirdly, (this may be a stretch but not too far of a stretch) it was closing of the day and they were probably tired. Their physical bodies were spent. This is certainly seen and evident with the temptation of Jesus. (Matthew 4:1-11) Three vulnerable opportunities for the appetite to be tempted, they yielded to their appetite and sin entered and death prevailed.
Three ways the appetite becomes vulnerable:
- The appetite is vulnerable when our relationship with Jesus becomes distant. (Gen 3:1)
- The appetite is vulnerable when we let principle of God’s word become questionable. (Gen 3:3-5)
- The appetite is vulnerable when our physical frame is weary in well (Matthew 4:1-2)
As a believer God gives a way of escape: (I Corinthians 10:13) “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
- Develop your relationship with God—keep it close!
- Saturate yourself in God’s truth and live by faith.
- Learn to walk after the Spirit—rely on His strength!
- Practice the Sabbath principle—take care of your body!—Make sure you work.
Remember the fast! Fasting is getting your appetite back in the right order. The whole life ought to be a fast! When the body rules, then spirit rule is impossible.
Fasting helps bring the flesh into subjection in all areas. Learn to fast and you will learn the way to lay off all sin.
Two Enemies of a Spiritual Appetite?
We Spoil our appetite with other things. Mothers throughout the ages have told children they can’t have a treat before dinner because it would spoil their appetite. When we’re full of other things, we will not hunger for God. Proverbs 27:7: “The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.”
The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night. For all the ill that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet table of His love, it is a piece of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife (Luke 14:18-20).
The greatest adversaries of love to God (appetite for God) are not His enemies but His gifts. And the deadliest appetites are not for the poison of evil but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God Himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable and almost incurable. ”The pleasures of life” and “the desires for other things” are not evil in themselves. They are not vices. They are gifts of God. They are your basic meat and potatoes, coffee and gardening, reading and decorating, traveling and investing, TV watching and Internet surfing, shopping and exercising, collecting and talking. Any of these can however can become deadly substitutes for God. They spoil our appetite for the meat of life–Christ!
The more deeply you walk with Christ, the hungrier you get for Christ. If you don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the greater things. God did not create you for this. There is an appetite for God. And it can be awakened. I invite you to turn from the dulling effects of food and the dangers of idolatry and to say with some simple fast: “This much, O God, I want You.”
We lose our Appetites because of Sickness. One way that a physician can tell whether someone is healthy or sick is by their appetite or lack thereof. When a patient doesn’t have an appetite, it is usually an indication that something is wrong. In the same way, if you are a Christian and don’t have an appetite for God’s Word, that is an indication of a spiritual breakdown. It would say that you are not where you ought to be spiritually, because hungry children are healthy children. We need to ask the Great Physician to examine us, search our hearts, and see if there is anything in our lives quenching our hunger for Him and His Word. The Christian life ought to be a growing hunger and thirst for God.
Psalm 139:23-24: Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 119:25: My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.
- Study your Appetites: What are your appetites? Do they please God? Are they in their appropriate order of priority! Define and prioritize your appetites according to the “supreme appetite”—to please God! Confess and forsake forbidden appetites. (Luke 10:27 “Love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, with all thy soul, with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.”
- Starve Sinful Appetites- You will not fight fleshly appetites by indulging in them. Appetites must be starved not fed. The hunger pains will eventually cease. (I Peter 4:1-2 “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yoursleves likewise with the same mind, for he that suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin. That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lust of men, but to the will of God.”)
- Stimulate Spiritual Appetites- God desires that we stimulate appetites for Him. Appetites can be acquired. (example: Reading, exercise, healthy food diet, music, arts) (Eph 4:24 “That ye putt off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lust; And be renewed in the Spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is reated in righteousness and true holiness.”(II Cor 5:17)
- Seek to Satisfy! When you choose the right appetites and prioritize them accordingly, next seek to satisfy! God desires to satisfy godly appetites—but in His timing and according to His design. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 4:6)
Ask almost any Christian audience what attracts the presence of God and they will humbly say: spend time in the Bible (John 6:33), have a consistent prayer life (Heb 4:16), worship God (John 4:23), diligently seek Him (Heb 11:6), exercise faith in God, confess your sins and walk in the light (I John 1:6-9), remain humble (James 4:8-10) , show the love of God to others (I John 4:12), be a witness for God (Matt 28:20), serve the Lord faithfully, walk after the Spirit (I John 4:13) practice unity of the brethren, etc.”
If the presence of God is essential to revival, and we know how to attract this presence, then why is it then that so few believers, so few Christian homes, and so few churches are experiencing a Divine visitation? Why do so many Christian lack the presence and power of God in their lives? The answer is simple—It is not at the top of their appetite’s list. If the presence of God is absent it is not because we have an ignorance problem (some may) it is because we have an appetite problem.
I challenge you to a fast. Fasting is moving an appetite for God up the priority list. Fasting is not getting God on our program but getting us on His program.
FAITH IS THE TASTE OF SOMETHING BETTER
Proverbs 26:10-11 “The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors. As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.
II Peter 2:19-22 “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
II Peter 1:9 “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”
Hebrews 6:1-12 “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
Introduction: Facts about taste buds. You can’t see your taste buds buds every one has them. Everyone has a different amount of taste buds. (2,000-10,000) taste buds change. The taste bud’s life is fleeting, they only live for 10 14 days and then regenerate. As you get older fewer taste buds grow back. Taste buds protect you. Taste buds make eating interesting!
How many of you are those kind of people that love to try new foods? How many of you eat the same thing off the menu over and over again? How many of you have had your taste buds change over the years? (Broccoli, salad, salad dressing, I do not like Mc Donald’s at all)
I want discuss a topic tonight concerning why some people’s taste buds do not change? Why does the dog returns back to his vomit and the sow to the mire? Why is it that the Christian whom God desires to have better “taste” still desire to live beneath their privileges? Why is it that we continue to feed ourselves with such garbage, spiritually speaking?
Today, I joined the YMCA. I did so because I want to take care of this body. I work in an office at an office pace, and it is not good for the body. (My chiropractor said he would rather me smoke than sit in a desk for eight hours a day) I am more aware of what I put in this body as the year’s progress. (Roman Grey—middle aged guys)
However, the same is true in our spiritual lives. The more I age the more I should mature and be keen to what I feeding my life spiritually speaking. I wrote this message after a student in our program decided to go back to the the vomit and back to wallowing in the mire. It hurts’ when we see our students go back? But it happens and I want to know why. Don’t you?
- Their nature has not been fashioned in Christ.
Why does a dog return to its vomit? Why does a sow return to the mud? It is in their nature. Sinners have an attraction to sin, because it is in their nature. Sinners are sinners not because they sin but because their sinners.
Psalms 119:73 “Thy hands made me and fashioned me: give me understanding that I may learn thy commandments.
II Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.”
Matthew 12:43-45 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
Ephesians 2:1 “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
2. They are fools in their folly. (I Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child I spake as a child, I understood as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things)
The bible cautions us not to call someone a fool carelessly. A fool in scripture is not someone who is ill-advised. Being a fool has nothing to do with a lack of intelligence. It is possible to be educated, gifted, talented, and even successful according to the world’s standard and still be a fool.
Luke 12:13-30 “And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
A fool can not be taught and therefore can never learn. The foolish do not learn their lesson from mistakes. They continue to do the same thing over and over again to their own destruction. Why can they not be taught? They cannot be taught because they have a heart problem, not an intelligence problem. Psalms 14:1 “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” The fools say “NO GOD” in their heart not in their head.
“The Book of Five Chapters.” It’s a short book. In chapter one a man is walking down a street and he falls into a hole. That’s the end of chapter one. In chapter two the same man is walking down the same street, this time he sees the same hole and he… falls into the hole. That’s the end of chapter two. In chapter three the same man is walking down the same street, he sees the hole, stops, tries to go around the hole, and… falls into the hole. That’s the end of chapter three. In chapter four the same man walks down the same street, sees the same hole, stops, backs up, stretches out, takes a running start, and attempts to jump over the hole, and… you guessed it, he fell in the hole. That’s the end of chapter four. In chapter five the same man got some sense, he read chapters one through four and he… went down another street.
The path without God is always the foolish path. The only help for the fool is God. The very God that the fool dismisses is the only one that can help him become wise. There three types of people people listed in the book of Proverbs. The simple, the fool, and the wise. The simple need instruction. The wise have instruction. The fool despises instruction. The fool despises instruction because the fool has contempt for the instructor. A man who has contempt for the teacher will never heed the teacher’s instruction. The problem with a fool is that they do not fear God. Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
- You cannot reason with a fool- Proverbs 18:2– A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.
- You cannot instruct a fool. Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of knowledge: [but] fools despise wisdom and instruction.
- You cannot even beat folly out of a fool. Proverbs 27:22 Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.
The fool never learns from his mistakes. What makes a fool is not some that cannot be helped, but someone that has reject their only help–God. What makes a fool is someone that will not consider God. “A fool hath said in his heart there is no God.”
If I could instruct a fool, I would say:
- If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got. If you keep going down the same street you will always fall into the same pit.
- If you want something you have never had, you will have to do something you have never done. Think about going down another street.
- Don’t tell me you moved if I keep finding you at your old address. Stop lying.
- Look back to look forward. Learn from the mistakes of your past and ask God for the grace to ensure you don’t repeat them.
- Recognize that your real issue is you despise God. And a secondary issue is that you despise instruction. The fool hath said in his heart—NO TO GOD.
- Realize that every other road that God is not on is the same road. The fool re-strategizes and re-strategizes only to continue down the same road.
- Pray that God would deliver you from being the fool. James 1:5 ‘If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally (generous), and upbraideth (reprimand not) not; and it shall be given him.”
3. They are feeding the wrong nature.
A Christian has dual natures. The flesh and Spirit are contrary one to the other. The nature that wins is the nature that you feed, and the loser is the one you starve. The strength of the nature is dependent upon the goodness of its master.
Galatians 5:17 “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” II Peter 1:4 “Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye may be partakers if the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
Ephesians 4:22-24 “If so be that ye have heard of him and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus,: that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lust, and be renwed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
Colossians 3:9-10 “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:”
Romans 8:5,13 “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh, but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit…For if ye live after the flesh ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”
Illustration: Mortify means to pour the life out of.
4. Their faith has tasted nothing better. (II Peter 1:9)
Faith is a taste. I believe that many Christians go back to the folly of sin because their faith has tasted nothing better Hebrews 6:4-5 “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
Faith that has not tasted will begin to fade. Faith that has not tasted and feasted on substance will begin to fade. Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.” The Bible says in Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” The substance of our faith is the word of God! If I am going to taste and see that the Lord is good, my taste must primarily come from God’s word and in obedience to His word.
Adding to your faith is paramount to abounding in fruit. II Peter 1:9 “Whereby are given unto us exceeding precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things ye shall never fall (fall away). For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
An unfruitful life is void of taste. If you do not live by faith, exercise your faith, add to your faith, your taste of the Christian life on this side of Heaven will be less than tasteful. Faith in God opens the door to the abundance of the Kingdom of God. Charles Spurgeon said, Faith is the coin of the realm. Another words faith is the currency for the Kingdom of God. Another words faith brings the Kingdom into our life! Romans 14:17 reads “For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
Biblical Illustration: The Israelites during the wilderness journey only tasted manna and began to murmur and complain for meat. They wanted to go back to Egypt and again taste the food of their slave masters. Numbers 11:5 “We remember the fish that we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna.”
God wanted to give the Israelites the fruit of the land of Canaan. Why then the wilderness? Why only the manna? I believe that wilderness had a twofold purpose.
To purge and to test. God was purging the Israelites from the impurities of sinful tastes with a wilderness existence. The wilderness is not a place anyone would like to live, but it is necessary. You must first learn by faith to be content with manna and quail before you will taste the fruit of Canaan.
The wilderness is also a time for testing. It testing to see whether you are all in or all out. By the way, God would rather have you in or have you out but not half in and half out.
God doesn’t want you to follow him for his gifts, but realize that He is your treasure alone! However, it is not God’s intention to feed you only with manna and quail. God desires to give you new appetites and then to satisfy those appetites. Psalms 107:8-9 “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”
The Israelites failed to trust in God and as a result they did not occupy nor taste of the fruit of the land. However, the second generation in the Wilderness, everyone under the age of 20 believed God to satisfy their taste. They placed their faith in God to help them overcome their obstacles and opposition to occupy the land. God was faithful to His promise and they did taste the fruit of the land. Joshua 5:12 “And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.”
The Israelites would have never tasted the fruit of the land if they never exercised their faith in God. For the Christian, faith is the taste of something better! Psalms 34:8 “O taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” King David said, I had fainted unless I believe to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Psalms 27:13
There are all kinds of scriptures that are in the word of God that stimulate an appetite for something better!
“Greater is He that is in you, than He that is in this world”
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Greater works will do you, because I go to the Father”
He that abideth in me the same bringeth forth much fruit. For without me you can do nothing.”
Eye hat not seen, nor ear hat heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love him.”
All things work together for good to them that love him, and are the called accoridnign to his purpose.”
Illustration: Have you ever had a “Woo hoo” meal. I have this weber smoker at home. I can cook a mean set of ribs. It takes 6 hours; I use some techniques I found on a You Tube video. When I make these ribs they are amazing! I love to cook them for other people and watch love to see their expression as they eat them because I know that they are going to enjoy them like I do! Can I tell you friend; I love to tell people about Jesus. It is a Whoo hoo meal that I know that they will enjoy if only they will by faith taste and see that the Lord is good!
Have you ever pushed back for the table and said, “Man alive, compliments to the chef, that meal was good!” Don’t let the complainers, the grumblers in the faith rob you from the expectation of the life you can have in Christ! Listen to those that have purposed to live by faith and get their take on what the Great Chef serves up! (Follow people that talk well of Jesus)
I wish I can tell you that my faith never falters, but I cannot say that. Every sin is expression of faltering faith. Every disobedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit is the resistance of faltering faith. Every complaint is the reverberation of faltering faith. Every idle hand and silent witness is the ceased work of faltering faith. Every missed appointment with God, every time we forget to pray it is the reminder of faltering faith. Every time we withhold our devotion, love, worship, gratitude, appreciation, service—it is faltering faith!
God knows that at times our faith will sometimes falter. Abraham’s faith faltered. (Gen 12:10-12) Elijah’s faith faltered. (I Kings 19:4) Israel’s faith faltered. (Num 11) Moses faith faltered. (Num 20:11) John the Baptist’s faith faltered. (Matt 11:3) The disciple’s faith faltered. (Matt 26:31) Peter’s faith faltered. (John 18:17) Thomas faith faltered. (John 20:25) God knows that our faith will falter.
Three Main Cause for faltering faith:
- Faith falters because we get discontented.(Numbers 11:1-5) God was giving them Manna and it sustained them, and yet they complained. They had a misconception off where they were. They were slaves, not treated well. They cried to get out of bondage. The best humility for contentment is to remember properly your past. Don’t forget were you came from. Don’t forget what you really deserve if it were not fot the grace of God. Surrender your expectation by praise God for His goodness that already exceeds your expectation! And then have great expectation in God! Faith has to taste something Better! (Job)
We get discontented with the Manna!
The lesson in maturity: Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
The lesson of humility: But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Phil 4:10-13)
The lesson of our ability: “Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain. Proverbs 30:8-9
- Faith falters because we face difficult circumstances. In the midst of the storm, standing before our Goliath, we see the wall of Jericho, and the Mountain of Caleb, and we shrink back in fear instead of moving forward by faith. (Numbers 14:1-10)
Sometime we have to be like Caleb, and say with faith, I want that mountain! Faith is the taste of something better!
We get discouraged with the Mountain!
- Faith falters because we can over compensate with self-confidence. We are too full of ourselves at time. We think it is faith, but in reality it is self -confidence and not God reliance, and so we fail and we fall back. (Deuteronomy 1:30; 40-46)
We forget who has the Might.
Do you remember Peter? (Luke 22:32) He was the epitome of faith faltering. So confident in his faith and yet it falterd to the point that He denied Jesus to a little girl. But what did Jesus do with Peter? Jesus sought him out. What about doubting Thomas? Jesus showed him his scares. The point is this, God does not leave us nor abandon us when our faith falters, He seeks us out and desires to restore our faith in Him.