No Faith?

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series When God doesn't answer Prayer

INTRODUCTION

I began a series last week in which I’m reading and studying the Bible to seek the answer to the question – Why do some prayers go unanswered? I asked you folks last week to shout yes if you believe God answered prayer and the majority of you certainly indicated so – but you also agreed that there are times when you have prayed that what you prayed for didn’t happen. It’s the paradox which we live in tension with as Christians – believing that God answers prayer, and certainly seeing examples of that in our lives – but then there are also many examples of it seeming like our prayers are bouncing off some sort of impenetrable force field around heaven.I believe that God has revealed through His written word clear teaching about the prayers that don’t reach Him, that He chooses not to hear, or that He simply says no to. Today we’re going to look at one of them.

There was a young girl who once wrote a missionary, to let him know that she was keeping him in her prayers. She had been told not to request a response to her letter because the missionary was very busy so she began her letter with these words; “Dear Mr. Missionary, I am praying for you, but don’t worry, I am not expecting an answer.” (quoted in “5 Attitudes of Effective Prayer” by Bruce Ball)

The sad thing about this story, is that it summarizes how too many Christians pray. We bring issues before the throne of God, but we don’t really expect any answers. We pray for help, and then immediately look for some way that we can fix the problem we are praying about. We ask God to help us, and at the same time we are asking for his help, we are also planning on what ?we’ are going to do to solve the problem. Frankly, because we simply don’t trust that our prayers are going to cut it and that God will work a miracle!

James, the half-brother of Jesus writes in the beginning of His letter to the church –

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;
James 1:5-7 (NIV)

James is talking about asking God, praying to God for wisdom and that asking of course, is a key to receiving. But in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, James further clarifies by saying that the person asking must believe and not doubt. He warns that those who doubt when they ask shouldn’t expect anything in response from God. I believe that through James inspired words we are getting insight into something that hinders prayer. And it is connected to the words believe and doubt.

I believe that one of the greatest things that hinders our prayers and keeps them from being answered is that we don’t really believe that God will answer what we are praying for. In other words there is a lack of faith.

Today, we’re going to focus in on three different accounts found in the gospel – two that are stories of what Jesus did with His disciples and one is a parable that Jesus shared. These historical stories certainly gave me insight into how lack of faith is detrimental to prayer and I hope they challenge you in the same way they challenged me.

The first story we’re going to look at was read this morning from Matthew 21, but I want read the parallel account recorded in Mark 11:12-25. It’s the same event but from a different perspective.

12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it. 15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: “‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.'” 18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching. 19 When evening came, they went out of the city. 20 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!” 22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Mark 11:12-25 (NIV)

If you like to highlight in your Bible and mark up important words you can get ready because I’m going to point out a couple to you this morning.

There are many observations that can be made in this story – and believe me, I’ve got quite a list in my study notes. But I want to focus in on what Jesus has to point out about prayer. When the disciples exclaimed in astonishment their surprise at the obvious decay of the fig tree. Jesus responded with a teaching of faith in prayer.

In verse 24 Jesus basically says that if you believe that you have received whatever you ask for in prayer, it will be yours. Underline verse 24. In verse 23, he gave a obviously tremendous picture of the power of prayer in saying that such prayer can even move mountains. But there’s a clarification here, “…if anyone says to this mountain, ?Go throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen. It will be done for him.'” (vs 23) Underline “does not doubt” and “but believes”. Three emphases: faith, no doubt, and belief.

Here’s some questions that come out of this:

Why is faith so important?

In other words, “Why does God not answer prayer with no faith?”

our faith must be in God, not in what we are praying for.
I think we have to back up a little bit before we answer that. When we pray, what is our faith to be in? In other words, are we to have faith in what is being prayed for or faith in God? Notice, how Jesus began his response to the disciples. What did he say? “Have faith in God!” When we pray, our faith shouldn’t be in what we are praying for but instead in the one we are praying to. Our faith must be in God, not in what we are praying for! There must be the correct understanding then that the solution to whatever we are praying for is determined and provided by God. Why is this important? I’ll expand on this further in the series but let me just give one answer.

Our motives. Take finances for example. How many of you have prayed for God to help you get out of debt? I don’t about you, but I know that my prayers often take of shape of something like this, “Lord, please bring some money our way that we can use to pay off our debt.” Or “God, it’d be so nice to win the Tim Hortons roll-up-the-rim to win car, so I can cash it in for the money…to pay off our debt.”. Come on, there’s gotta be someone in here who’s prayed that? Or at least thought it? Here’s the problem. What we put our trust in is revealed in what we pray for. Think about that for a moment. When you pray for money to pay off your debt – is your faith in what the money will do, or what God will do?
So, faith in God is important.

Now back to why faith is important when it comes to prayer.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

Did you catch that? Without faith it is impossible to please God. Anyone who comes to him must what? Believe that he exists AND that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Faith, or to clarify, faith in God is important when we pray because it’s the only way God will listen! Put simply, he will not respond to a faithless prayer.

Is it even possible to pray without faith? I think it is.

Is faith believing that God can do it? ?I believe God can do it!’ That is not faith. When you believe God can, that’s just a fact. God can do it whether you believe it or not. ?I believe God might do it’. That’s not faith either. That’s hope. You hope He might. ?I believe God will do it.’ That’s faith. Not believing God can do it, not believing God might do it, but believing God will do it. Faith! (“From Five Conditions of Answered Prayer” by Jeff Seaman)

Lack of faith hinders God from answering your prayer! Mark records about how people’s unbelief even hindered Christ from doing great miracles in his hometown.

5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 And he was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.
Mark 6:5-6 (NIV)

What produces “lack of faith”?

So what is it that produces lack of faith? Doubt! Jesus clarified to His disciples… “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt” (Matthew 21:21 NIV). Faith is affirming that yes God will do something PLUS believing that there is nothing preventing that from happening (i.e. no doubt). How many of us can say that we pray with that assurance?

This brings me to the next story I want to share with you. It is recorded by these same two gospel writers, Matthew and Mark. I’m going to read from Mark’s account,

14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. 16 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked. 17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” 19 “O unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” 20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. 28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
Mark 9:14-29 (NIV)

Notice Jesus bemoans the lack of faith around him (“O unbelieving generation”). Jesus again highlighted the importance of faith in answered prayer when he said, “Everything is possible for him who believes”. Notice the father’s response, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Such a contradictory statement on the surface. The father is essentially saying to Jesus, “I believe, but I don’t believe, help me to believe” This a good example of our own approach to praying in “faith”. The problem is – the father already displayed the reality of his “belief” in his earlier statement to Jesus when he said, “But if you can do anything” (vs 22) In other words, he was still riddled with doubts! The Message Bible translation puts it this way,

No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried, “Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!” Mark 9:24 (MSG)

Doubt can come from many sources (some valid, some not so valid).

  • There may be doubt that it’s not God’s will. This can be valid doubt as we’ll see in a later message in this series. If we aren’t sure something is God’s will – then more than likely, the prayer is not going be answered. And as we’ll see, if something isn’t God’s will of course it won’t be answered! But correspondingly, if there is no doubt that something is God’s will – the resulting believing faith produces powerful prayer!

“Every promise of scripture is a writing of God, which may be pleaded before Him with this reasonable request, ?Do as thou has said'” (Spurgeon)

“We must turn God’s promises into prayer, and then they shall be turned into performances” (Matthew Henry)

“…though the Bible be crowded with golden promises from board to board, yet will they be inoperative until we turn them into prayer…God’s promises are given, not to restrain, but to incite to prayer.” (F.B. Meyer)

“Promises show direction in which we may ask, and the extent to which we may expect an answer” (Ted Sutherland in “Are Your Prayers Answered”)

Where this doubt becomes invalid is when there is a clear promise of God in scripture that highlights His will. We have license to believe that it will happen! Don’t doubt it!

  • “I don’t deserve this to happen” (the idea that there’s something wrong in my life/or in the life of the beneficiary). Again, this can be a valid doubt. If there is unconfessed sin, or harbored unforgiveness in your life then the doubt that is produced will render your prayer powerless.
  • “It’s un-natural (scientifically) for it to happen” “It’s impossible”. This is the hangup for those who don’t believe in God and correspondingly don’t believe in miracles. In other words, what they believe is that everything has a natural explanation. Is this a valid doubt for Christians? Of course not. But really, believers don’t doubt that God can do something -rather our doubts fall into the first two categories I talked about.

The important thing to remember is that where there is lack of faith, there is an abundance of doubt. Sometimes that doubt is there for valid reasons. But many times it isn’t. With doubt you will not see answers to your prayer.

Is “quantity” of faith important?

In the particular story with Jesus healing the demon possessed boy there’s something that Matthew records Jesus saying, that is often referred to in any discussions on faith and I think it’s important I address it as well.

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Matthew 17:20 (NIV)

Jesus is responding to the disciples questions about how come they couldn’t drive out the demon from the boy. Jesus answers, that it is because they have so little faith – which hopefully we get by now. But then Jesus says something that sparks another question, “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed…”. Why does Jesus use the mustard seed in this illustration? (show people a mustard seed and they’ll see how small it is). Can faith be measured by quantity? Is there a certain degree of faith that one has that flips the switch to powerful prayer? Do we “work up” faith?

I believe really what’s happening here is that Jesus is using the mustard seed as a hyperbole. That is, a deliberate exaggeration or overstatement to make a point. In other words, Jesus is really saying, “any amount of faith is sufficient…the measure of your faith isn’t of greatest importance – whether your faith is the size of a mustard seed or a mountain, it doesn’t matter because you either have faith, or you don’t.”

For example: If I put a drop of water in a cup and then I take a different cup and fill it to the brim with water. What cup has water in it? The answer is – “they both do”. Just because one cup has only a drop in it doesn’t’ mean it doesn’t have water in it.

Likewise with faith. Although we can’t see faith like we can see the water in a cup, the principle is the same – it doesn’t matter how much “faith” is in the cup, because any faith is enough. The question isn’t, how much faith you have – it’s do you have any doubt? Because if you doubt, you don’t believe! That’s what Jesus is teaching here.

Okay, so that’s fine and dandy – hopefully you’ve grasped the importance of faith in prayer and how lack of faith will result in unanswered prayer. But that leaves a question. Assuming that a person prays in faith, without any doubts brought on by unconfessed sin, or uncertainty that it’s God’s will, are there cases where their prayer still does not get answered and if so, why?

The truth is, the Bible does record instances where Godly people have prayed with faith and God hasn’t answered…at least right away. That’s the key – sometimes unanswered prayer is just a matter of our wanting things right away getting in the way of God’s perfect timing. God’s perfect timing does not always happen right now. Remember this phrase:

God is not always on time, but He is always in time. (Doug Henry in “What do we do with Unanswered Prayer”)

You see, lack of faith will result in unanswered prayer. However, faith filled praying must be persistent because sometimes God’s answer isn’t what we expect! Even though faith can’t be directly measured in quantity, it can be measured by persistence.

Sometimes when we pray we give up too soon! In Daniel 10 we learn that he had been given a vision and persisted in prayer for three weeks, seeking understanding for the vision. On the 24th day a heavenly visitor came and delivered the interpretation of Daniel’s vision. Before doing so the being indicated that he had been dispatched from the moment Daniel set out to understand what God was showing him but had been detained by the demonic “Prince of Persia”. What would have happened if Daniel gave up?

Luke tells us (Luke 2:36-38) about when Jesus was taken as a small child to be dedicated at the temple in Jerusalem there was a very old widow eighty four years of age who had worshiped night and day, fasting and praying in the temple. We aren’t told what she fasted and prayed about but attention is drawn to the fact that she was among those blessed to know who the child was that Mary and Joseph brought that day. Would she have experienced that if she gave up on praying?

This brings me to the third and final story we’ll look at this morning. This is actually a parable that Jesus told his disciples. Luke begins his account of this parable with the words, “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up… Watch on the screen a modern retelling of this parable.

{show Sermon Spice Video – “The Persistent Widow“}

1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ 4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!'” 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Luke 18:1-8 (NIV)

Now, I think it’s important to clarify the difference between persistence and empty repetitiveness. In Matthew 6, Jesus is giving instructions to his disciples on prayer and there are a number of things he said (I’ll be coming back to many of them in the next two messages) but I want to focus on verse 7…

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
Matthew 6:7 (NIV)

We must be careful when we pray persistently for something that it doesn’t become habitual and mere repetition. Not giving up in prayer does not mean simply saying the same thing over and over again like a mantra. “Not giving up” has more to do with praying faithfully than with praying repetitively. Having habits can sometimes be good but in the case of prayer habits can be destructive. Ensure that when you are praying persistently for something that it is not from habit but is genuine, sincere and with the same emphasis and faith as when you first prayed it.

CONCLUSION

Hopefully, today you’ve gained some insight into one of the reasons for why prayers go unanswered.

William Penn, the founder of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, was well liked by the Indians. Once they told him he could have as much of their land as he could encompass on foot in a single day. So, early the next morning he started out and walked until late that night. When he finally went to claim his land, the Indians were greatly surprised, for they really didn’t think he would take them seriously. But they kept their promise and gave him a large area which today is part of the city of Philadelphia. William Penn simply believed what they said. Should we do less with God? (quoted in “Are Your Prayers Answered” by Ted Sutherland)

As Jesus said to his disciples, so I say to you – Have faith in God! Remember the words of Paul,

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)

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7 Responses to No Faith?

  1. Vivian says:

    Thank you for your wonderful sermon. I read it twice and prayed for healing with the help of the advice you gave on faith. God healed a lump that i had in my neck. It had been there for a year and a half. God is good and i’m glad that he pointed me in the direction of this sermon. It really helped me.

    Vivian

  2. Thanks Vivian for sharing how this message helped you. Praise God for His healing of the lump in your neck!

  3. Scott says:

    You said something regarding faith and the quantity of faith that is scripturally inaccurate. While I know that Jesus said “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed you can say to this mountain move and it will move.” You said, “any amount of faith is sufficient…the measure of your faith isn’t of greatest importance – whether your faith is the size of a mustard seed or a mountain, it doesn’t matter because you either have faith, or you don’t.” How do you then explain Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith…. So if God has really dealt to each one a measure of faith then I have it. I believe God does what He wants, when He wants and if He wants, regardless of what he has said in His word. This is from my personal experience. I have reminded him of many of His promises and I pray with passion because I am not playing around. If I have doubts it is strictly due to His lousy track record of doing what He says He will do at least in a timely manner. Often by the time He gets around to moving His hand I have suffered too much heartache and sorrow to give a damn anymore. Mainly so I wont lose my mind in a sea of disappointment.

  4. Before responding to your comment, Scott. I think there are a couple of questions that need to be answered to help bring clarity to the text you quoted (Romans 12:3)

    1. Is the author saying that God has given this gift of faith to absolutely everyone (or limited to believers)?

    2. Is the faith a gift or not? In other words does God enforce differing measures of faith upon people or does he offer a gift that is our choice to receive or not?

    3. I was not saying in my message that there is no such thing as a measure of faith. All I stated is that quantity of faith doesn’t matter when it comes to prayer or making a request of God. With that said, is this reference to a “measure of faith” in Romans 12:3 directly tied to how we pray? (continue reading the next verses…)

    Then there are some things that you made in your comment that concern me.

    1. You said, “I believe God does what He wants, when He wants and if He wants, regardless of what He has said in His word.” In other words, are you saying that God lies? Or are you saying that God will/does break His promises?

    There is no simple response to what you communicated in the rest of your comment about your experiences with praying to God. It appears that you’ve had some pretty painful experiences in your life and you feel that God has let you down. All I can say without knowing any details that led to your feelings is that sometimes we get so caught up in what didn’t happen or what we didn’t get, or what God didn’t do that we simply miss what He has done. It’s a characteristic of broken humanity that the lousy always stands out more than the good. This is something exemplified all through scripture and in my personal experience as well.

    Thanks for commenting.

  5. Scott says:

    Hmmm, I am impressed you did not delete my comment… OK, let us look at the rest of the chapter…NKJ

    9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
    14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
    17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord. 20 Therefore

    “ If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
    For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”[b]

    21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

    …I do not see where it says either believer or non-believer, an exact quote is “to each one”. Verse 17 and 18 while they do not talk about the measure of faith refer to every one and all men.

    Please straighten me out…. I admit I am broken and need help. I also believe Faith is supported by Patience and without both neither is going to work all the time by themselves. But if I have truly surrendered my life to Christ and asked God to please make me what he wants me to be should he not have made me patient and forgive all who have wronged me? Then why do I have to struggle and battle the same issues over and over? Why am I still not the head and not the tail, above and not beneath, blessed when I come in and blessed when I go out? Why if I delight myself in the Lord every day almost do I still not have the desires of my heart which are really no more than are common to most anybody? Sure God has done many things in my life. I am not dead even though there have been many dangers to me, I am fairly healthy and not too bad looking. I have survived though poor and scratching for my bread sometimes. I have calmed the weather in the name of Jesus, cast out demons in His name, (even the one of epilepsy) talked my way out of sickness even when I could barely speak within just a matter of hours using “God’s Creative Power for Healing” by Charles Capps. But I want it all and I want it all the time. Is that wrong that I should expect God to keep all his promises all the time? Has He not said “all the promises of God are yes and amen in Christ Jesus”? I don not want my relationship with Him to be like a crap game and I fully expect Him to guide me into the fullness of my inheritance in Christ.

    Maybe you can help. If you want more exact details please write me directly

  6. Scott,
    Nope, didn’t delete your comment but I did delete the url you were linking to.

    You’ve quoted what comes after Romans 12:3 but what about what comes before? Read Romans 11 and Romans 12:1-2. It is clear from this context that Paul is making his comments to fellow believers (see particularly Romans 11:13-17 – Paul is talking to Gentile believers. See also Romans 11:25 and Romans 12:1 – Paul refers to His readers as brothers. In Romans 12:19 he calls his readers “beloved”)

    In this context then Romans 12 is Paul giving some suggestions on how believers should live among their fellow man (unbelievers and believers alike).

    As for the rest of what you stated in your comment, it comes across to me as if you expect that the believer’s life should be free of any troubles or problems. You say, “I want it all, and I want it all the time. Is that wrong that I should expect God to keep all his promises all the time?”
    The truth is even Jesus made the promise that believer’s lives wouldn’t be free of troubles or problems (see John 16:33). What about all the things the apostle Paul (the writer of Romans) went through (see 2 Corinthians 11:16-12:10)? Further, Jesus often talked to His disciples about “taking up their cross”. It is clear from the teachings of Jesus that becoming a Christian does not automatically bring us a life free of troubles, but does bring us the assurance that we are not alone in the storms of life and that God will enable us to overcome these storms and become better people through them.

    Finally, you said, “I don’t want my relationship with Him to be like a crap game and I fully expect Him to guide me into the fullness of my inheritance in Christ”. Two questions: First, how do you know that God isn’t guiding you into the fullness of your inheritance in Christ? Being that He surely knows more than you then He would know the path to accomplish this in your life? Second, where does it say in scripture that God wants His relationship with you to be like a crap game? It appears to me from your statement that either you believe your relationship with God is based on what you do to appease Him or to “earn” more benefits OR that you never know what God will drop in your life regardless of what you do or don’t do. The reality is, much of what happens in our life is the result of either our own bad decisions, the corruption of sin in our bodies and in the world, or attacks from the enemy (satan) who’s aim is to steal, kill and destroy (see John 10:10). God enables us to endure and overcome these things AND promises us that they won’t have the last word in eternity.

  7. Scott says:

    Firts of all you said look at the rest of the chapter and I did. Problem is that many things God promises are only available in this life and will not even exist in eternity. Even if Satan steals from us in this life Gods word says that a thief when caught must return 7 fold what he has stolen even if it costs him his whole house. I know there are trials and tribulations but enough I cry uncle. The only solution I see is to stop expecting anything to avoid dissappointment. Everything has a price and if we are honest with ourselves and ask the price before we expect we my be surprized to find out when we know the price upfront that it is too high and not worth the effort, trial, tribulation or cost. Again, if I have surrendered my life to Christ and asked God to make me what he wants me to be then some of your above quiries and statements are mute. Obviously my statement about a crap game is not intended to quote scripture since the only reference in the bible (NKJV) to gambling that I know of was casting of lots. That was just me to illustrate how God does not always do what he says in the word. So is God a liar or has the word been distorted? Some of the newer translations (Amplified) Ephesians 4:14 have the word gamblers but that is a stretch from my NKJV. Perhaps our translators have taken too many liberties.

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