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In The School of Faith (Part 5)

Suffering a Faith Failure

Numbers 13:1-2, 23, 25-33

I. Introduction: Oftentimes, God’s answer to our petitions is the same—“Trust Me.” Trust is the foundation of everything He wants to do in our lives, and it honors God when we trust Him in any situation—great or small. However, there are times when we feel overwhelmed, and it is then that we experience faith failures.

II. Terms Defined

  • A. Faith Failure—The failure to express or exercise faith in a given situation or exercise faith in God when confronted with a challenge, trial, or temptation.
  • B. The most graphic pictures of a faith failure can be found in the Old Testament. After the nation of Israel was freed from bondage, God brought them safely through to the very threshold of the Promised Land. Twelve spies were sent to scout the territory, and ten said it was as God had promised but that the people were strong and living in fortified cities (Num. 13:1-2, 23, 25-33). The Israelites believed the negative reports and began to wish they could return to slavery or had died in the wilderness (Num. 14:1-9).

III. The Causes of Faith Failures

  • A. Fearing failure. Fear is a paralyzer, a destroyer, and a cheater that robs us of the very best God has to offer. Fear is not of God; in fact, there are many Scriptures that state the opposite (see 2 Tim. 1:7; Ps. 27:1-2).
  • B. Listening to false information. God asks us to trust Him rather than giving us all the facts. When we seek the advice and opinions of others rather than relying on Him, we show a lack of trust.
  • C. Failing to recall the power of God in past situations. We only need to look back on our lives to see where God has done wonderful things for us. If we aren’t mindful, we can forget all those blessings in the face of a challenge.
  • D. Failing to see things from God’s perspective. Sometimes we focus on our own “smallness” and underestimate the power of God and His willingness to help us. Also, we forget His promise to enable us to do anything He requires (1 Thess. 5:24).
  • E. Focusing on the obstacles rather than God. Focusing on the obstacle makes it bigger and God smaller, but the truth is that He can make any problem insignificant compared with His power.

IV. The Consequences of Faith Failures

  • A. Suffering disappointment. When we fall away and fail to trust God, we begin to feel miserable and waste our time and abilities.
  • B. Developing a distorted view of circumstances. We sometimes don’t believe ourselves worthy of His best blessings or capable to do what He’s asking, and we miss out on the greatest opportunities as a result.
  • C. Causing everyone to suffer. Because of their faith failure, the Israelites wandered for forty years, and many never entered the Promised Land (Num. 14:30-32). Likewise, our nation is in danger today because families are raising children without godly principles, and this rebellion has consequences.
  • D. Blaming others. We fail to examine ourselves first and try to place the blame on others or to say that God is somehow at fault, which hinders our relationship with Him.
  • E. Missing life at its best. God loves us and wants what’s best for us. When we choose something other than what He intended, our Father will intervene and correct us accordingly.
  • F. Experiencing correction. We might also experience chastisement from God to correct our lapses in faith and learn from our mistakes.

V. How to Correct Faith Failures

  • A. Get in the Word of God. The Bible contains the answer to any and all questions; we only need to consult it to find God’s will for our lives.
  • B. Plant the Right Seeds. In addition to growing in Christlikeness ourselves, we must all teach our children what will protect and guide them as well as enable, challenge, and lead them to live lives that are pleasing to God.
  • C. Keep Focused on Him. Remembering the awesome blessings God has given us as well as meditating on His power, majesty, and grace makes it difficult to become overwhelmed. Everything else pales in comparison.

VI. Conclusion: We don’t have to live our lives “lost in the wilderness” when God has something so much better to offer if only we are willing to trust Him and have faith. Submission to His will for our lives is the wisest thing we can do to honor our heavenly Father, and we can experience the joy that comes from watching Him work for good in all our circumstances.

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