Never Limit God
Somehow in the course of life we start to limit God and question if He actually can do more than we could ask or think. It is this hesitation and doubt that robs us of seeing the miracles that He has done for us and the promises that He still plans to fulfill in our lives.
We are told in the Book of Jude 1:20 to 'build ourselves up in your most holy faith!'
If we are going to do this, the question is how do we get to a place where we do not limit God and build ourselves up in our faith so that we can have confidence in God and His word? Abraham's life is one that we can look at to glean clues as to how to live such a life.
'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." 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. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.'
Abraham Set an Example
- It all started off in Genesis 12 where the Lord instructs Abraham to leave his home and go to a land that God would show him.
- The Lord then gives Abraham a promise that from him will arise a great nation.
- This nation will be a nation that brings great blessing to all humanity.
- Abraham is by this time an old man and his wife is an old lady and they have no children.
- Abraham obeys God's instruction and gathers up all his belongings and starts to go in the direction God has told him to go.
- Abraham was 75 years old when the original promise was given.
- Then NOTHING happened for 15 years.
- Then the Lord renewed His promise to Abraham and now he was 90.
- Then NOTHING happens until 9 years later when they are told that within a year a child would be born.
- So 10 years later they finally get the promise fulfilled and in total they waited 25 years.
- 25 Years is enough time to get discouraged and to give up, never mind their ages.
- Abraham continued to believe God.
- Deep within his heart and soul was a confidence in God and His ability to do what He said He would do.
- That is the example that you and I can learn from.
How Can We Build up Our Own Faith?
- Obedience is always a great key to the blessing God has in store for us.
- If there is a lesson we can learn from the life of Abraham it is that obedience is the first step in the journey to seeing God's blessing and promises fulfilled.
- Abraham was ready and willing to obey God.
- At face value the instruction the Lord gave him seems almost ridiculous.
- Genesis 12:1 The Lord had said to Abram, 'Go from your country, your people and your father's household to the land I will show you.'
- His faith in God seemed to be already well established.
- So much so that He would pick up his earthly possessions and start moving in an unknown direction simply because God told him to do so.
- Genesis 12:4 'So Abram went, as the Lord had told him.'
- We can build up our faith and simply start to obey God.
- When we simply take His word, the Bible, and decide that we are going to live by what He says, even if it does not make sense to us, we take that first step in the right direction.
- Is there some area of your life that you know is not in alignment with the Word and the instructions of God?
- Let's get this area of our personal lives in order, so that we can be ready to follow all the instructions He may give that will take us from where we are to the 'Promised Land' that He has prepared for each one of us.
- In a very real sense faith starts the moment we obey.
b. NO MATTER WHAT - BELIEVE GOD!
- Romans 4:18 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."
- The scripture seems to indicate that there was no hope in Abraham's situation.
- There were no grounds to believe that what he believed was even possible.
- It was a hopeless case, but something deep within Abraham continued to hope.
- How often when we face a hopeless situation do we simply lose hope ourselves?
- Abraham's faith was grounded on his hope in God.
- Believe God no matter what the situation looks like.
- It may be a fact that you are unemployed, but God has a future and hope for you, that's the truth.
- It may be a fact that you are broke, but my God is Jehovah Jireh and He will provide all your needs and that's the truth.
- It may be a fact that you are sick, but by His stripes we are healed and He is Jehovah Rapha, the Lord our healer and that's the truth.
- It may be a fact that you have wasted many opportunities, but He is the one who can restore the years that the locusts have eaten and that's the truth.
- It may be a fact that you are depressed, but God is the one who comes to lift us out of the pit and out of the miry clay and that's the truth.
- It may be a fact that you have no hope, but His word tells us that while there is still life there is still hope and that's the truth.
c. DEAL WITH DOUBT!
- Romans 4:19 'Without weakening in his faith...'
- Romans 4:20 'He did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God.'
- There is a link between doubt and the weakening of our faith.
- Wavering leads to doubt and doubt in turn leads to unbelief and unbelief creates an environment where faith can't survive.
- In order to build up our faith we need to deal with doubt.
- Psalm 78:19-22 They spoke against God; they said, "Can God really spread a table in the wilderness? True, He struck the rock, and water gushed out, streams flowed abundantly, but can He also give us bread? Can He supply meat for His people?" When the Lord heard them, He was furious; His fire broke out against Jacob, and His wrath rose against Israel, for they did not believe in God or trust in His deliverance.
- When we start with the questions and the doubts we end up with the unbelief and mistrust of God and His promises and this does not please God.
- The question is how do we deal with doubt?
- Years ago I heard a young journalist interview Reinhard Bonnke. It was a hostile interview in which the journalist was trying to force the direction of the conversation. But the evangelist held steady and she could not corner him. Eventually she said to him, if you have this faith, don't you ever have doubts concerning your faith and your belief? He answered and said that yes he did have doubts from time to time, but he always chose to doubt his doubts.
- Doubt your doubts.
- Often we are so quick to give weight to our doubts instead of doubting them and not giving them the attention they demand.
d. NEVER WRITE ANYTHING OFF
- Romans 4:19 'Abraham 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.'
- Abraham was man enough to face the facts, but hold onto the promises and believe God.
- Sometimes when we are confronted by issues, we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by what we see and hear and remove God from the equation, in the process.
- Abraham realized that in the natural what God had promised was beyond impossible, but he also knew that with God all things are possible.
- Recently we as a family have been trusting God and holding onto His Word and the promises we have received for a miracle in our situation. As I was praying I was reminding the Lord of the promises and asking Him to fulfill them. The Lord then reminded me about promises given to our family and my parents more than 30 years ago which are still not fulfilled. I felt the Lord say to me that if I will trust Him and believe Him for the promises I am currently holding onto, what about those that I had written off? I realised that I had written off promises from long ago and yet I was believing the promises about my current situation.
I felt challenged by the Lord about this and discussed it with my wife and she said that the Lord had been speaking to her about the same thing. We cannot trust God in one issue and write off something He said about another issue.
- Perhaps you still have promises regarding something that never happened and you have written them off.
- Never write anything off that God has given you.
- Pull out all of the promises and take the current things you are trusting for and believe for all of them.
e. STRENGTHEN YOUR FAITH
- Romans 4:20 'He was strengthened in his faith.'
- It is so important that we do what we can to strengthen our faith.
- It's easy to just give in to doubt and unbelief, but we are children of God and we must take the high road of trusting, believing and having faith.
- The Bible is our greatest tool in the building of our faith.
- Romans 10:17 'Consequently, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.'
- Let the word of God fill your heart and your thoughts and your faith will grow.
- This should be our primary tool to strengthen our faith.
- But there are many ways to help strengthen our faith.
- There are many wonderful Christian channels, with many wonderful preachers who can assist to building your faith.
- Just lately my wife and I have been so encouraged by the teachings of Joyce Meyer, Joseph Prince, Steven Furtick, Joel Osteen and Beth Moore.
- There are many great books available.
- There is a lot of new worship music available.
- Use these tools and let your faith be strengthened.
- One thing that I have found lately that erodes my faith is watching the news. To hear of floods and hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts and famines, bombings and threatening nuclear wars, corruption, state capture, poverty and suffering weakens my faith. I don't advocate ignorance, but strengthening our faith should be our priority.
- Watch what you watch, watch what you listen to.
- It reminds me of a little song that we used to sing as children. 'So be careful little eyes what you see, so be careful little ears what you hear, so be careful little hands what you do, so be careful little feet where you go and be careful little mouth what you say. There's a Father up above, who is looking down in love, so be careful little eyes what you see.'
- Develop your faith, grow your faith and strengthen your faith.
f. PRAISE - AN ESSENTIAL INGREDIENT
- Romans 4:20 'and (He) gave glory to God!'
- When we praise we take our eyes off of the situation and we focus on God and His greatness.
- Praise is an act of faith in itself.
- Hebrews 13:15 'Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of lips that openly profess His name.'
- Jack Hayford said the following: 'Why is praising God a sacrifice? The word "sacrifice" (Greek, thusia) comes from the root thuo, a verb meaning "to kill or slaughter for a purpose." Praise often requires that we "kill" our pride, fear or sloth (I would like to add our doubt, our unbelief and our weakened faith) - anything that threatens to diminish or interfere with our worship of the Lord.'
- Praise sets us up for victory.
- 2 Chronicles 20:22 'At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves.'
- Let praise come out of your mouth.
- Let praise become that essential ingredient that can set you up for victory.
g. BECOME FULLY PERSUADED
- Romans 4:20 'He was fully convinced (persuaded) that God is able to do whatever He promises.'
- We need to move to the place where we are not doubting or being tossed around like a wave in the ocean.
- We need to come to a place where we are fully persuaded.
- Are you fully persuaded in your own mind that God's Word is true?
- The words "fully persuaded" in the Greek language mean completely assured and most surely believe.
- This means that you know, that you know, that you know that God will carry out fully what He has spoken and had written down for you and me.
- To be fully persuaded means no more second guessing, no more doubts and no more trying to do things our own way.
- God says His Word IS Truth!
- You and I are the only ones who can truly be persuaded in our own minds and hearts.
- No one else can do that for us, and God will not force us into doing anything.
- I want to live a life that is fully persuaded about God's word, God's faithfulness and God's abiding love in my life.
- How about you?
An Example From the Life of Joseph
- In the story of Joseph we see a man who had been through so much and yet he was fully persuaded.
- He had faced rejection from his family. He was sold into slavery, he was falsely accused and forgotten in prison. But in all this He saw the promises of God fulfilled in their entirety in his life and was convinced even at the point of death.
- Genesis 50:24-25 Then Joseph said to his brothers, "I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land He promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." And Joseph made the Israelites swear an oath and said, "God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place." So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.
- Joseph remained in that grave for 360 years and then when the time of the Exodus arrived, his bones were retrieved and carried around the wilderness for a further 40 years, before they were buried in Canaan 400 years after his death.
- He knew that he knew that he knew that God would do what He had said He would do and he wanted to be part of it when it happened.
- Perhaps he knew that it could take time and perhaps that is why he referred to his bones and not his remains, but whatever it was he knew it would happen.
- He was at the point of death and usually people have other things on their minds at that moment. But at that moment his faith was completely unwavering and he made plans and provision for the time when God would do as He had said He would do.
- God did what He said He would do and eventually Joseph's bones were carried to the Promised Land and buried there.
- Such great faith - let you and I live with that same confident expectation and complete trust in God.
- Let us never limit God!