“Whom have you so dreaded and feared that you have not been true to me, and have neither remembered me nor taken this to heart?”
Have you ever been stuck in such bad traffic that it stopped you getting to your destination on time? Many believers are trapped by obstacles to their life of faith so they fail to reach their goals. These undetected obstacles can be like a traffic jam in our spiritual walk, that stop us from making progress and fully developing a life of faith. Here are a few examples:
Unbelief. “See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12). God promised Israel that he would lead them into the land of Canaan. However, the fulfillment of this promise was interrupted because of their unbelief, and they delayed their entry to the Promised Land for forty years.
Disobedience. “If you hear His voice…” (Hebrews 3:15). In order to develop faith we must hear and obey God’s voice. In Deuteronomy 28:1, God promises that the blessing would come to us when we attentively hear His voice and obey His commandments. When we hear God’s commandments but do not obey them, it creates an obstacle to developing faith. This is what Israel experienced;: they heard God’s voice many times, but because of their lack of trust, they did not obey.
A hardened heart. “Do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3:15c). A hardened heart is the direct consequence of resisting God and His Word. It begins when sin is overlooked in the heart of the believer. Then, instead of experiencing joy when we hear the Word, we feel a heaviness come over us. Our hearts lose sensitivity to God’s voice, which in turn hinders our understanding of His inheritance to for us in the Holy Scriptures. The person who finds themselves in this condition must allow God to perform spiritual surgery, – where God will exchange the heart of stone for a heart of flesh. It will then be a heart that is sensitive to His voice (Ezekiel 36:26).
Going astray from the purpose of God. “Their hearts are always going astray” (Hebrews 3:10b). Going astray means, “to turn away from a matter or purpose.” In the light of the Scriptures, a believer who goes astray, or digresses, in their heart is someone who is not committed to the Word of God. They doubt that God is able to do what He has said He will do. When we go astray, we undermine God’s resources, which are His promises. This obstructs the development of His purpose in us. The people of Israel allowed this obstacle in their lives, and it was the reason that many of them died in the desert.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
A few years after starting ministry as a Pastor, I found myself in one of the toughest trials of my faith. I watched one of the most popular preachers of that time on television asking for forgiveness for moral sins he had committed. That event had a very deep impact on my life. Later that night we had a meeting at church, and I bowed down to the ground, close to the altar, crying and screaming from the depths of my heart. In my prayer I said, “Woe is me, Lord, if this man who is supposed to be an example of faithfulness has failed You! What can be expected from me?” I felt devastated. I thought God had turned His back on that man. It was a critical time for Christianity at a global level. It was as though the share price of the Kingdom of God had tumbled overnight. I felt that even the small amount I had invested in those stocks had disappeared. I found myself before an uncertain spiritual future. After spending a long time in prayer, I heard the voice of the Lord saying to me, “Son, I did not turn My back on this man. It was he who turned his back on Me. By his own will, he chose to do what he did. When temptation comes, I will give you the strength to resist, and I will deliver you from it.”
The Bible says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1Corinthians 10:13). After this word I felt strengthened, knowing that we cannot play around with our salvation and that we should always remain close to the Lord.
"I am filled with courage, I am strengthened in God, I remember His promised, and I am now a conqueror."
Today's post is an excerpt from Pastor Cesar Castellanos' book, Declarations of Power for 365 Days of the Year: Volume Three.
TODAY'S BIBLE READING
- Old Testament: 2 Chronicles 8-9; Psalms 141
- New Testament: Luke 10:38-42; 1 Thessalonians 4:11-18