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In The School of Faith (Part 4)

Wavering Faith

James 1:1-8

I. Introduction: Faith is the key to every aspect of our lives. Everything is affected by it whether we are aware of it or not. Christians have faith in God and believe He is who He says He is and will do what He’s promised. Therefore, we can live each day without worry (Matt. 6:25). We know everything is in His mighty hand. However, that faith doesn’t come overnight. At times, it wavers, and it must be grown and strengthened over time.

II. In James 1:1-8, the apostle tells believers that they cannot expect anything from the Lord if they are “double-minded” or “unstable in all their ways.” What he warns against is wavering, or unstable, faith. There will be times when this occurs, but it should not be a way of life for a Christian. Anything we ask for that is in the will of God will be done, no matter how impossible it seems (Mark 11:22-23).

III. The Place of Faith in Our Lives

  • A. We have access to God by faith.
  • B. We walk by faith.
  • C. We have sonship by faith.
  • D. We live by faith.
  • E. We have righteousness by faith.
  • F. We have forgiveness of sins by faith.
  • G. We have Christ indwelling us by faith.
  • H. We receive the Holy Spirit by faith.
  • I. We are protected by faith.
  • J. We stand firm by faith.
  • K. We resist the devil by faith.
  • L. We have victory over the world by faith.
  • M. We have victory over the evil one by faith.
  • N. We have victory over difficulties by faith.
  • O. We have power through faith.

IV. The Causes of Wavering Faith

  • A. When trusting God is in conflict with human reason. The apostle Peter was a fisherman who knew it was pointless to fish in the Sea of Galilee during the day, but he followed the Lord’s instructions and gathered an amazing catch (Luke 5:1-11). The same can be said of tithing. It doesn’t stand to reason that ninety percent of our income can go as far as one hundred, but if we are faithful to give God back what is His, we’ll benefit (Mal. 3:10).
  • B. When we allow our feelings to overcome our faith. Your inadequacies have nothing to do with the blessings of God. He will equip you to do anything He calls you to do. All you must do is obey.
  • C. When we fail to see God at work in our circumstances. When things don’t happen immediately or don’t work out the way we think they should, we waver. Whatever God gives, it is the best thing for us, but it must be on His schedule.
  • D. When we listen to negative counsel from others. No one knows the will of God for you but your heavenly Father. He gives the best guidance for your life.
  • E. When we focus on the circumstances rather than God. The more you focus on your problem, the bigger it seems to get. However, focusing on God keeps things in the right perspective. For example, the night Daniel spent in the lion’s den, the Bible says he slept. His focus wasn’t on the beasts but the omnipotent God who sealed their mouths.
  • F. When we are ignorant of God’s ways. God operates on a set of principles, and if we rely on that fact rather than our feelings, we can better understand what He’s doing in our lives. Whatever He allows to happen in our lives, it has a purpose, and He is in control of it all.
  • G. When we have guilt over past sins in our lives. When we are imprisoned by sin and guilt, we short-circuit the power of God. He promises to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9), which means that all we must do is accept it and remove what is hindering our walk with God.
  • H. When we listen to the lies of Satan. When we do, we aren’t hearing the voice of God. Just as it did with Eve, listening to his deceptions always leads to disobedience.

V. The Consequences of Wavering Faith. When our faith is unsteady, many negative consequences can occur. For example:

  • A. We become double minded.
  • B. We become unstable in all our ways.
  • C. We miss the blessings of God.
  • D. Our faith is slowly destroyed.
  • E. We mislead others.
  • F. We lose our influence and weaken our testimonies.
  • G. We make wrong decisions.
  • H. We miss out on God’s peace.
  • I. We make costly decisions.
  • J. We are discouraged in prayer.

VI. How to Correct Wavering Faith

  • A. When our faith is weak and failing, we should ask ourselves the following questions. Many times, honest answers will help us gain a right perspective.
    1. Where are these doubts coming from?
    2. Has God ever failed me in the past?
    3. Did God not promise to meet my needs?
    4. Don’t I have the help of the Holy Spirit?
    5. Isn’t He with me at all times?
    6. Is anything too hard for God?
    7. Is this one of those forks in the road that could cost me a lifetime of regret for my unbelief?
  • B. Meditate upon the Word of God. Reading the Bible unhurriedly each day and applying what you read helps you understand how God is speaking to you and steadies your faith.
  • C. Recall past examples of God answered petitions. Write down your prayers and when God answers them in your Bible or in a journal. When your faith is unstable, having a record of the great things He has done will sustain you.

IV. Conclusion: There are times in our walk when it will take great courage to trust God, but our faith will always be rewarded, oftentimes in ways we could never imagine. Our heavenly Father is waiting to pour out His goodness, love, mercy, kindness, and generosity on His children, but we will never know what He has in store for us unless we are willing to allow our wavering faith to be strengthened.

(Charles F. Stanley. Copyright 2011 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.)