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What the Bible says about Faith Blockers
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Isaiah 14:12-15

Probably all of us have thought that we know better than those in charge. Watch out! Thinking like this is not wrong in itself, but it is something that lodged itself in the mind of Helel (the name of the "covering cherub" before he became Satan): "I know better than the one in charge," and in this case, it was God.

We can begin to see how his pride was beginning to exalt itself against God. It was moving to break the relationship between them. It was coming between Helel and God so that their relationship could not continue. Helel could not continue to serve God.

Most have felt that we have been overlooked, neglected, or abused. Most of us have felt rejected a time or two. Of and by themselves, these feelings are not wrong. But, again, we must beware, because these feelings can begin to generate pride. Such a thing fed Helel's feelings about himself. They simmered in him and made him angry, and he desired to assert his will to control the governance of all that was happening. "I will ascend to heaven," he said, and he tried to. We see the pattern here; we can see the process involved from beginning to end.

It ends in warfare against God, which is why a person of pride cannot have a good relationship with Him. A proud person cannot have faith in God, at least not very much. A small amount of faith can be there, but pride will definitely be a hindrance. This is why the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican in Luke 18:9-14 follows immediately after of the Parable of the Importunate Widow (Luke 18:1-8), which Jesus ends with, "When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on earth?"—because humility is essential to faith.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Faith (Part Six)

Luke 17:5-10

Verse 10 contains the key to increased faith: the word "say." The principle boils down to working with a specific attitude. Christ tells us to do everything possible to be as profitable as this servant (verses 7-8), without expecting any recognition for it (verse 9). Then we can present the sincere, humble attitude: "We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do."

Humanly, the servant could have taken the attitude, "You owe me! Didn't I go 'above and beyond'?" No! "Above and beyond" is not applicable to our relationship with God. We could never do enough to put God in our debt.

I Corinthians 4:7 asks, "What do you have that you did not receive?" We have no room to boast that we have done anything without God's oversight (Daniel 4:28-35). I Corinthians 6:20 tells us we owe God everything, as He has redeemed us by the most precious blood of His own Son. Paul commands us not to grow weary but do good to all (Galatians 6:9-10). James echoes him: "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin" (James 4:17). God has backed us into a corner. Where do we have any room for "above and beyond"?

In both the planning and action stages of works of goodness or faith, we decide how much to give, how far to go. But in hindsight, what good thing have we ever done that qualifies for "above and beyond" our duty to God? Whatever it was, the Scriptures plainly show we were commanded to do it! It was our duty because we found it in our power to do it (Proverbs 3:27). We cannot take the attitude that, "We did these good things, so that makes us profitable to God." If we do, we have no basis for faith. Our faith would be in ourselves, not in God.

Staff
Beware of Faith Blockers!

Luke 18:9

Consider "trusted in themselves" in relation to the instruction concerning enduring, persevering faith in the previous parable. It concluded, "When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on earth?" He is speaking about people who trust in themselves rather than God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Faith (Part Six)

Luke 22:31

Jesus asks His Father to strengthen Peter's faith. But notice Jesus' perception: He could see that Peter would stumble—and stumble very badly. He had such confidence that God would turn Peter around that He says, "When you return, when you are converted and come back to Me, strengthen your brethren." That is how confident Jesus was that God would hear His prayers.

Faith is the foundation of Christian character. Without it, we have no access to God. "He who comes to God must believe that He is" (Hebrews 11:6). Satan was out to destroy Peter's trust in God, and Jesus acted to guard him. "That your faith should not fail" means that it should not come to an end or disappear completely. Peter did stumble badly, but he also got up and went on. It is entirely possible that Peter had a lot of confidence (remember that he says in verse 33, "Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death"), but that confidence was in himself.

For Peter to have the right kind of faith, God had almost to smash the man where he could easily see his faith, his confidence in himself, as absolutely nothing, and that if he were going to have a good relationship with God, it would have to be on the basis of his confidence in God, not in Peter. Peter had to stumble in order to have true faith in God. When faith is broken down, the foundations of true spiritual life give away. That is why Satan wanted to destroy Peter's faith. If he could do that, the entire structure of the man's relationship with God would collapse, but God did not allow it.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Faith and Prayer


 




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