The Path of Faith
Today I am beginning a FIVE part Series of messages on FAITH, and over the next five weeks, we shall look at “The Path of Faith, The Peace of Faith, The Price of Faith, The Purpose of Faith and The Power of Faith”.
(so be sure to write me and ask for your free copy)
LIFE has often been described as a journey, from the cradle to the grave. Or like a book with a variety of differing chapters charting our beginning through to our end. Or like a road, a path through valleys and mountains, through the ups and the downs of life’s experiences.
Whatever best describes your life, I don’t expect it will differ in any great detail from mine. We are all fellow travellers along the road of this life, and on that pathway we will most certainly encounter our fair share of trials, traumas and troubles. Some tread the path warily with Fear, while others walk willingly by Faith.
How is your journey?
My Sermon today, entitled “The Path of Faith” is an attempt to focus our thinking on Gods Word which enables us to put away our fears. For even in troubling times, followers of Jesus Christ can choose to walk in faith rather than in fear. Our relationship with the Lord gives us the ability to face hardship with confidence in His provision and care. As God’s children, we can trust in the Father’s promise that He will supply and supply all of our needs.
Fear does not fit who we are, as Children of God. Yet many of his children walk in fear, and are crippled by fear, anxiety and worry.
Am I talking about you?
Are you a worrier, fretful and fearful of things ahead of you in the future? Is the Devil robbing you of your peace and confidence in God? Do you focus on your Cares on the journey more than on your Companion … your Saviour? Through Isaiah the prophet the Lord says, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”
Isaiah 41:10. Wow,- what a promise that is! God is literally promising to hold us by the hand. That makes me feel better already, that’s what a closer walk with God really means!
We need to know that a fearful spirit is not from God. 2 Tim 1:7 declares “God has not given us the spirit of fear” so if it is not from God, it must be from the Devil. Satan wants us to focus on those disturbing issues, those worrying bills, that disobedient or wayward child, that threat of losing our job, or that unwelcome and unnatural pain that’s in our side. Once we open up our mind to these issues, we open up the door to Satan and give or grant him ground on which he is all too eager to build. Remember that the Devil cannot defeat us, unless we allow it. It might just be a little fear to begin with, but I can guarantee you that once you ponder on it, focus on it, think about it, that “mole-hill” will soon become a “mountain”. I’ve discovered that Satan is a high-speed builder!
If anxiety prevents you from resting at night, disturbs your sleep, or hinders your obedience, you are not demonstrating trust in the Lord, but you are giving in, or yielding to fear. I have learned that genuine faith and overwhelming fear are incompatible. You are either trusting or you are not, its that simple!
Now I know that Fear affects people in many different ways.
For some, it Causes confusion. A fearful person will have a difficult time thinking clearly. Their judgements will be tainted by their fears. This Contributes to indecision. When someone
is afraid of making a mistake, he or she often delays making any choices at all.
Then Fear can Hinder us from accomplishing God’s will. An apprehensive person misses opportunities because he or she expects failure, and doesn’t want to risk the hurt or humiliation. Fear Damages self-confidence. Frightened people can seem insecure and incompetent because they doubt their ability to succeed. They adopt the attitude that “without God they can do nothing” instead of believing that they can “do all things through Christ’s strength” Phil 4:13. They have consciously made the choice to respond negatively instead of positively.
Fear also Affects our relationships with one another.
Fear can lead to mistrust of those who are near to us, or those who are genuinely seeking to befriend us. It may be that past experiences or past hurts or abuses, have hindered our ability to trust in others, and we feel vulnerable when someone tries to come close to us, or form a relationship with us. Then
Fear Can lead to full-blown panic. We can become so frightened of others and our environment that we want to escape it and run away. Some will shut the door and keep themselves isolated from others. Fear can Imprison the innocent, and can even lead us to drug or alcohol abuse.
God does not want us to walk in fear, or on a fearful path, He wants His children to live and walk by Faith.
Jesus reassured His followers that they didn’t have to worry about food, drink, and clothing. Matt 6: 31
The God who clothes the grass of the field will cloth you, and the God who feeds the birds of the air will feed you. Fear Not!
Some will argue that the Bible does encourage us to Fear God?
But Fearing God does not mean cowering in terror. Instead, it means that we are to have reverence and trust in God and stand in awe of Him. Only those who have not received Christ or walk in deliberate rebellion or disobedience against Him have a legitimate reason to be afraid of God.
So then, what is it to walk The Path of Faith?
… and how is it possible to reject fear and live by Faith?
First of all we need to Focus on the Lord Jesus, not the source of our fears. Instead of dwelling on your problems, choose to think about God’s absolute sovereignty over everything Psalm 103:19 If you and I are living godly lives, living according to the Word of God, the Lord will turn everything for our ultimate good. Romans 8:28. Not all things are Good, but God has promised that even bad things will have a good result if we love Him. Disappointments may come, but they don’t have to discourage us. There will of course be those times of testing and trial,
but we can
Face those moments of doubt and fear by asking the following questions.
“Where did these doubts originate”? Because God says He did not give us a spirit of fear, we know they cannot be from Him, so reject them as the “fiery darts or arrows” of the enemy. Then ask yourself “Has God ever failed me in the past”? You may be facing a difficult situation, but remind yourself of those many times when the Lord has faithfully provided for you.
Indeed “His mercies are new every morning”.
Doesn’t Scripture say that the Father will meet all of your needs? The Lord promises to provide for His people. Phil 4:19. Why should I ever imagine I’m on my own when trying to do what God requires of me? You and I can have the person, provision, and power of the Holy Spirit, just as the New Testament Christians did. Acts 1:8
Didn’t He promise to be with me at all times? If you have trusted Jesus as your personal Saviour, and sin bearer – you will never be alone again. Christ promised He would neither leave nor forsake you. Heb 13:5 He is a very present help in times of trouble. Did you know that when you are in trouble that’s when the Lord comes nearer to you? If God were to desert us in “hard times” what sort of loving father would he be?
Then ask yourself:
“Is anything too hard for God”? And the answer surely must be No. When I was in Sunday School, we used to sing a little chorus that said:
“My Lord knows the way through the wilderness, all I have to do is to follow, … strength for today, is mine all the way, and all I need for tomorrow, my Lord knows the way through the wilderness, all I have to do is to follow”
Boldly express your confidence and trust in the Lord. Let him lead, and you follow! If there is a fork in the road where unbelief could cost you a lifetime of regret, and if on the road you face major decisions, be especially careful to act in faith rather than fear. When the children of Israel were fleeing the Pharaoh and had come to the Red sea, there was no way forward and no way backwards. But God knows the way; and when there is “no way” He promises to “make a way”. But sometimes you have to put your foot in the water, before it will divide. If you don’t take that step, then you don’t show that Faith.
To find, follow, and finish on the Path of Faith means also that you must Feed on God’s Word.
Believers are constantly bombarded with worldly lies that distort their perspective and contribute to anxiety. That’s why we must constantly renew our minds with the Word of God. Psalm 119:97-105. As Scripture reminds us, we have a relationship with the Lord that can cancel all of our fears; Isaiah 41:10. We’ve also been given the promise that the Holy Spirit will be our Helper. John 14: 16-17.
God loves you; allow the Bible to guide and comfort you in times of uncertainty. Faith cometh by Hearing, and Hearing by the Word of God. It is the word that prompts Faith, that builds confidence and that moves us forward. Christians who are not feeding on the Word are not growing up and not going on. Have you ever heard someone remark “he is always the same”? I think that must be the most damning comment one can ever make about a believer?
If I am the same as I was last year, last month even last week, then I am not maturing, I’m not growing and I’m not changing. Christians should NEVER be the same. They should be constantly being transformed into the likeness of Christ, and if they are not, then they are not feeding in the Word.
As well as feeding in the word and following in the way,
we should be
Forging ahead, no matter what people say.
Sometimes others will try to discourage you from stepping out in faith, so be careful to reject ungodly advice. I learned a long while ago, not to worry about what people may say. People will and do say all kinds of things, most of it finds its root in ignorance and jealousy, and ought to be ignored by those of us who are pursuing Christ.
Paul said to Timothy “study to show thyself approved by God”
I don’t want your approval, I don’t care if you approve of me or not, as long as God approves of me.
Walk and work for the approval of Heaven, and you can be sure that if Heaven approves of you, men will not. And another thing, don’t allow adversity to dampen your enthusiasm for pursuing God. Follow the example of the apostle Paul, who, despite difficulties never stopped serving the Lord. 2 Cor 11: 24-25
Walking in the path of Faith will also mean
Faithfully and courageously choosing to obey God.
A believer who is committed to following Jesus has nothing to fear. Obeying the Lord always brings blessing, and He promises to use adversity for our good. I make no apology for being a “Preacher of the Word”. I am not impressed by the traditions of the Church,
the Experiences of the Great and the Good, the Examples of the Religious, or the Ways of the World, and I do not, can not, and will not conform to anything or anyone who rejects as Inspired, Inerrant, Indestructible and Infallible, the Word of God, the Bible.
Close the door to me if you will, switch off the programme if you must, deny me my place if you can, but I am not here to impress you, I am here to impress Heaven. As God is my witness, I often thank Him for those who have stood in my way, those who have bad-mouthed me, those who have isolated me, those who have rejected me, those who have hated me, those who have shut the door to me, those who have turned their backs on me, … all of them unwittingly have driven me into the arms of Jesus, who has hugged me and helped me to bear their rejection in the face of
Anything and Everything that brings a man or woman,
a preacher or teacher closer to God, is worth having.
Thank you Jesus.
Walking the Path of Faith is about putting God first
and pleasing God first: remember we are to “seek first the Kingdom.”
In Johns Gospel Chapter 5, Jesus said: “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh
from God only?”
This is in reference to the fact that Jesus came in the power and authority of His Father to point men to God. Jesus existed long before His advent on this earth in the form of God and was equal with God. Yet, He humbled Himself and became a servant while here on earth. Phil. 2:6-8.
He did not come to promote Himself but to give His life to provide the way to the Father. John 14:6. In the same way, the Holy Spirit does not exalt Himself, but points all men to Jesus. Jesus came, meek and lowly, totally submitted to the Father, and seeking only to please the Father.
This is radically different from the way so called “great men” present themselves. The Roman Caesar of Jesus’ day proclaimed that he was God and demanded worship. Lesser leaders ruled by exalting themselves over the people they governed; but Jesus showed us that “whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
If we are concerned about what people think in an attempt to gain
their approval or honour, we will never take a stand in faith for anything that might be criticized. This one thing has probably stopped as many people from receiving from God as anything else. You cannot be a “man-pleaser” and please God at the same time.
Go on with God, and don’t keep looking over your shoulder to see if
anyone else is following you. When you and I focus on our circumstances, and on our critics, we can find many reasons to
feel afraid. But that is not God’s will for His people. Psalm 103:19 says, “The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.” As believers, you and I have the assurance that God is always with us. We need not fear,
because He strengthens and helps us in every situation.
NOW THIS FINAL WORD
Dr. McCormick, in his book “The Heart of Prayer,” tells of a good woman whose daughter had died after a painful illness. She came to her minister and said, “I fear I have lost my faith in prayer.
I used to believe that anything I asked for in the name of Christ,
I would receive. When my child was sick, I besought God in an agony of desire for her recovery. I believed that God would answer my prayer. When she died I was stunned, not merely because of my grief, but because it seemed to me that God had failed me.
I pray still, but the old faith in prayer is gone.”
This good woman was the victim of wrong teaching. She had, in a word, been led to substitute faith in prayer for faith in God.
If our faith in prayer is uppermost, then any disappointment will shake that faith. But if faith in God is the great fact of life, then no matter what will be the outcome of our petitions we will
still trust in Him.
Whichever way the Path of Faith leads you, however rough or smooth your journey, take the hand of God, and hold on to Him.
If you do, there will be nothing to fear, and nothing to fail.
God Bless You.