Ladies Bible Study
A Study in Faith
"Faith Breakers and Faith Makers"
Hebrews 11:1: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
In the previous lesson we defined faith as "a belief or confident attitude toward God, involving total commitment to His will for your life. It involves a personal decision or choice on your part to depend totally on the finished work of Christ at Calvary.
Faith is the very essence of your Christian Life!
We separated faith from hope. Hope is wanting or wishing for something with a "feeling of confident expectation." Hope is always in the future.
Romans 8:24: "For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?"
Faith is always now. Faith is the strong, sturdy, large important basic make up of things hoped for. It is proof positive that what you hoped for will become a reality. Faith is an act. It is acted on now!
It is believing in what we know, not knowing what we believe.
It is the very essence of your Christian life and must be used, exercised and fed daily to become and remain strong. As with anything, the more you use it, the more proficient you will become in it.
Today, letís look at things that weaken or "break" your faith.
The Holy Spirit led me in three directions in looking at "faith breakers".
Each one is interchangeable with the other and each one will lead to the others individually or together if we allow them control of our life.
Spiritual malnutrition automatically leads to disobedience, which will lead to yielding to the flesh. Disobedience can lead to yielding to the flesh or spiritual malnutrition and yielding to the flesh can lead to disobedience and then eventually spiritual malnutrition.
Each one separately can "break your faith", but combined can really cause you to act in unbelief in ways you may never have thought possible.
What do I mean by Spiritual Malnutrition?
Deuteronomy 8:3: "So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord."
God fed the Israelites in the wilderness with manna. Manna was a real physical substance but it also has a scriptural or spiritual meaning of spiritual substance. God wanted His people to know and understand that man did not live by satisfying his physical appetite alone. Feeding your "inner man" is much more vital.
Jesus echoed these very words when he was tempted in the wilderness.
Luke 4:3-4: "And the devil said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread. But Jesus answered him, saying, "It is written, `Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God."
Matthew 4:3-4: "Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.'' But He answered and said, "It is written, `Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.' ''
To be successful in your Christian walk you must sustain your spirit!
Joshua 1:8: "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success."
Deuteronomy: 11:18: ""Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth."
Just like physical malnutrition develops from not feeding you physical body, spiritual malnutrition develops when you deprive yourself of the Word of God. You become spiritually weak, spiritually anemic and are unable to withstand the onslaught of the enemy.
Psalms 119 is a Psalm completely devoted to the importance of Godís Word in your life.
Psalms 119:11: "Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You."
Did you know unbelief is a sin? Not knowing Godís Word is a sin?
Psalms 119:97-106: "Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; For they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, Because I keep Your precepts. I have restrained my feet from every evil way, That I may keep Your word. I have not departed from Your judgments, For You Yourself have taught me. How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through Your precepts I get understanding;
Therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
I have sworn and confirmed That I will keep Your righteous judgments."
The Lord Jesus Christ instructed us to spend time In Godís Word.
John 15:4-7: ""Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you."
These are one of my favorite Scriptures in the Bible and has inspired me to spend as much time in the Word as I possibly can. I do not limit myself, I feast on Godís Word and that is what you have to do. Abiding in the Lord, in His Word, in His love is the most vital foundation of your life. It cannot be neglected. Just like you cannot neglect food physically, you cannot neglect feeding your spirit with Godís Word.
Hebrews: 5: 12-13: "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."
Just as a baby grows and develops by being fed and nurtured, you as a Christian can only grow as you are fed and nurtured. You cannot go through life "sipping milk". You have to mature and take in solid food.
What does "spiritual malnutrition" lead to?
2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."
When you are born again, you are a totally new creation. God does not see you as something worthless! He sees you as something of value. You, however will never see yourself this way, if you donít get into Godís Word and learn what you have become in Christ.
Ephesians 2:10: "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
This is an important verse. We are Godís special creation, recreated in Christ Jesus for
good works. Spiritual malnutrition leads you to think you are incapable of doing what God has prepared for you to do. God has a special purpose in your life, and for you to understand and fulfill it you must be strong in Godís Word.
It is a commandment and staying spiritually immature is a very big "faith breaker"
2 Peter 2:2-3: "as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious."
In our spiritual walk we begin as newborn babes, but we must grow. No one wants to see a normal full-grown adult acting like a baby and The Father does not want to see us stay spiritual babies either! Sometimes, just like we donít see ourselves as immature in some areas, we donít see ourselves as spiritually immature either.
Spiritual malnutrition deprives your inner man of all that is vital to his survival.
What are the symptoms of spiritual malnutrition?
You are not fully knowledgeable of Godís Word, you donít know the promises and it leads you not to fulfill your role as priest and you cannot stand in faith or you build your faith, if you do not know what Godís Word says about something.
James 4:3 "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your
Romans 10:17: "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
Ephesians 1:17-19: "that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.."
2 Timothy 2:15: "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
So where does spiritual malnutrition lead? It will lead to disobedience and yielding to works of the flesh.
Disobedience comes in two forms. Outright rebellion, which is knowingly not doing what God or His Word tells us. Not doing what is right, when you know it is right. This is sin in Godís eyes and will definitely interfere with the strength of your faith.
Disobedience also comes from unwillingness to act. You donít know what the Word says so you canít at on it, or you do know and are afraid to act on it. Or you do know, and want to see the manifestation before you believe. It is all disobedience and lack of faith and it is a sin.
James 4:17: "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin."
When you are spiritually malnourished you easily yield to the lust of the flesh, which causes all kinds of problems, especially in the church.
James 4:1-7: "Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
It leads you to seek the worldís ways and answers and not Godís ways. You listen to TV talk shows or read magazines with "pop" psychology in them and expect to get insight into your problems. The only true insight comes from the Word of God. Amen!
Galatians 5:14-21: "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'' But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."
You cannot be led by the spirit if you yield to the flesh, and if you cannot be led by the spirit you cannot walk in faith or exercise you faith.
We will all "cave in" at sometime or another but that is the time we repent and keep moving forward. The Apostle James tells us that if we are faithful to confess, God is faithful to forgive us our sins. That is wonderful because what God forgives, He forgets!
But if you donít repent, meaning ask forgiveness and turn away from these things you will not have fellowship with the Father. Fellowship with God is what faith is all about. No fellowship, no faith. It is that simple!
Put yourself in a place to hear from God.
Put yourself in a place to be obedient.
Get into the Word and learn it, keep it in you heart.
Spend time in prayer, both in know and unknown tongues. Prayer is so important and strengthens your spirit.
Make a Covenant now with God, to "abide in the vine" and strengthen your faith!