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Weak vs. Strong Faith

Weak vs. Strong Faith

We’re continuing to look at the example of Abraham.  He’s Paul’s illustration of how we should walk in faith.

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Romans 4:18

This is one of those amazing verses in the Scripture.  To fully grasp it, we need to understand what the meaning of hope is in the Bible.

When we use the word, hope, it usually means that we’re wishing for something good to happen.  “I hope I win the lottery.”

That’s not what this word means in the context of Scripture.  It actually means to look forward to with expectation.  “I place my hope in the fact that the sun will come up tomorrow.”

With this knowledge, we can see how Abraham operated.  He was in a situation where, logically, there was nothing to expect.  Yet, by placing his faith in God’s Word, he fully expected to have a multitude of offspring.

Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead — since he was about a hundred years old — and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.

Romans 4:19

This is the tough part.  I talked about not walking in denial in my last post.  That’s the key to this kind of faith.

The verse literally says that Abraham fully observed the facts of his situation.  He was almost 100 years old and considered himself already dead.  He understood that under no circumstances could his wife, Sarah, have any children.

As a matter of fact, he had already picked out an heir for his estate.  He chose one of his most trusted servants (Genesis 15:2-3).

What amazes me is that even though he had all of these facts before him, he didn’t weaken his faith.  But that brings up an interesting question.  He already had an heir picked out that was not in his family.  How can you say that he didn’t weaken his faith?

We need to understand exactly what is meant by weak faith.  There’s a clear verse about it.

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.  One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.

Romans 14:1-2

What is weak faith?  It means that you don’t trust God to complete His work in you.  You feel that you have to establish rules to follow so that you won’t accidentally sin.  Weak faith has the idea that if I follow these rules, then I’ll please God and receive His blessing.

Abraham picked out an heir without weakening his faith.  That tells me that I do what I need to do as if nothing special will happen.  But, at the same time, I fully expect the Lord to intervene on my behalf.

I can see my doctor, take my pills, and pay my bills.  At the same time I trust God for my health and provision.

Some people think that they’re operating in faith by never seeing a doctor.  It’s actually a sign of weak faith because they can’t trust God to manage what the doctor might tell them.

Weak faith has to set rules and boundaries so that we can deny any problems.  Strong faith can look straight at the problems and trust God for the solution.

Question: What are you facing right now that requires faith in God?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2021 in Faith, God's Provision, Healing, Word of God

 

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Why so Downcast?

heart CrossIn my last post I talked about how worshiping God on our own terms is actually a form of idolatry. It’s through our arrogance that we think that we can approach God however we want.

One of the problems of our humanity is our tendency is to make a god in our image.

“If I were God, then this is what I would do.”

We say things like that and think that somehow this makes our foolishness theologically correct. It doesn’t. God is God and I’m not!

When Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, he spent a portion of his letter talking about idolatry. He explained that in the world there are many so-called gods.

…yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
1 Corinthians 8:6

For us there is only one true God. It’s for Him, only, that we live. I can’t relegate Him to the spot of one among many. I live for Him and for His pleasure. I have to come to the point of realizing that my relationship with Christ is all that matters.

It’s when the church in America comes to this realization that revival will break out. The timing and outcome are all on us. We need to respond to the call.

“Why so downcast?” The sons of Korah asked this of themselves. Cain was asked it as well. The answer was the same then and now.

“You know what to do.”

…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

This has always been the key to revival. I’ve heard this verse preached over and over since I was a child. We need to put our relationship with God back on His terms.

“Why so downcast?”

“Look at the condition of the world and its people. The economy is in rough shape. I don’t have the time to do anything for God. There’s no power in the church.”

Let’s put away all of the excuses. It’s time to return to our first love. We need to put our hope back in God where it rightly belongs. It’s time to let all else fall away.

It may mean that some things have to change. We might need to stop doing some things – even good things – that are eating into our time with the Lord. There might be priorities that have to be rearranged. Whatever it takes, it’s worth it to see the glory of God once again manifested in His church.

Question: What’s the next step in your progress to get closer to the Lord?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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Idolatry – Worship on my Terms

MirrorIn my last post I started talking about how we relate to God. It needs to be on His terms and not ours. In the book of Genesis, Cain learned that lesson the hard way and ended up angry and depressed.

That happens when we try to approach the Lord on our terms.

“After all, God should respond the way I want Him to no matter what the situation is.”

When this doesn’t work, we get upset. It’s just like what we read in the Psalms.

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Psalm 42:5-6a

The Sons of Korah ask a very insightful question in this Psalm. It literally asks why is there a war raging inside me? The answer was simple.

“Your hope is not in God.”

Cain wanted a relationship based upon his desires and not God’s. It’s what we do many times. In ministry and in life, we cut corners, show up late, and pursue our priorities over God’s. We portray the unspoken attitude that “this should be good enough for God.”

We think that we should be accepted by God simply because we performed some task for Him. Unfortunately, that will never happen. We want to work for God’s approval. Then we can boast about how good we are, and how much more we do than others. It’s all about us.

In fact, it should be all about the Lord and His work in us. That’s the crux of the conflict between Cain and Abel. As a result, Abel became an innocent victim of Cain’s desire to approach God on his own terms.

It was also the start of a new trend that has carried on through the ages. Mankind wanted a god who was there when, and only when, they needed him. They didn’t want him to mess with their lives the rest of the time. They wanted a god who would help bring rain when their crops were dying. Make a sacrifice for rain and that’s it – a rain-god.

Oh, yes, and when I want a child, I may need a fertility god. On and on it went throughout the generations. What Cain did was the start of idolatry – worship on my terms.

There was a king of Israel who learned this the hard way. Saul was told what God’s will was, but he decided to do things his way instead.

“For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”
1 Samuel 15:23

Why is arrogance like idolatry? It’s because by our arrogance we reject the known Word of God. We know what God has said, yet we do it our way and continue to expect His blessing on our lives. We say, “That should be good enough.”

This is one of the big problems of the modern American church. It seems so obvious to me when I compare our experience to that of the Book of Acts. The early church lived to do God’s will – all else was secondary.

Now our prayer is, “God use me, when my schedule is open. Maybe next Thursday at 3:00, if nothing else comes up.”

We need to make the will of God the highest priority in our lives. Then we can fit everything else in once we submit our whole schedule to the Lord.

Question: How often do you seek God’s leading when filling your schedule?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

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Deadly Peril

2 Corinthians 1:8-10
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia.  We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.  Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.  But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.  He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us.  On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.

It is my hope and prayer that you are never in a life-threatening situation.  I know, however, that weather, accidents, and natural disasters can come when least expected.  It seems like everyday there is something going on in the United States that could have tragic results.  If and when that occurs, you will be faced with a choice – do you despair and give up or do you continue to put your hope in God?

I have been in that kind of situation.  I know what it feels like to be trapped by an unforeseen incident with no way out and no help in sight.  It is truly in those times of need that God proves Himself faithful.  I can say, without hesitation, that God has never abandoned me to my problems.

The key to making it safely through a future problem is to make the choice now, that whatever happens, you will not abandon your trust in God.  You will find that He is always there with you to help you in your time of need.  In your prayer time today, reaffirm your trust in the Lord to take you through the hard times.  Place your life fully in His hands.

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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