A Lecture for Little Faith

4 Sep

I want to talk with those of you who have a hard time trusting God.

It’s a pretty common struggle.

It’s not like it is a super unusual sin.

In fact, I was recently reading a sermon Charles Spurgeon preached. He called it “A Lecture for Little Faith.” He believed one of the fundamental problems in many Christian’s lives was not that they lacked faith altogether but that they struggled with trust.

He calls it little faith.

And he got that phrase actually from a preacher who lived a couple hundred years before him, a man you might know, John Bunyan. John Bunyan wrote a book about the Christian life called Pilgrim’s Progress. It’s an allegory describing what it is like to live the Christian life and it is interesting, at least to me, that in Bunyan’s book he’s got six, maybe seven characters all who struggle with this very issue. There’s not only “Little Faith” there’s old “Ready to Halt” and little “Feeble mind,” and “Mr. Fearing” and “Mr. Despondency” and “Miss Much-Afraid,” who spent much of their lives locked up in the dungeon of Giant Despair.

These are all Christians according to Bunyan, but there are all Christians who struggle with this kind of problem, finding it hard to trust God and the reason he has so many of them in his book and the reason a preacher like Spurgeon talks about this issue is because you know whether it be five hundred years ago, two hundred years ago, this is one of those problems that affects so many of us.

You even see it even in the gospels themselves. I think of Mark in particular.

The disciples who had made a pretty big commitment to Jesus spend most of the gospel struggling to really trust Him. And Mark, he recorded these stories for a reason, probably because he knew many of the people he was writing to were having a hard time with the same thing themselves.

I want to talk with those of you who have a hard time trusting God.

I have found when I am in frightening situations what usually happens is my mind starts talking to me about all the different reasons I should be afraid. It is amazing how many I can come up with and so quickly, and you know what happens when my mind thinks about those things I become more afraid; when what I have a hard time doing and what I need to learn to do and what I think you need to learn to do as well is to start thinking about all the reasons you have for trusting God — not just believing there is a God but really being confident, relying on Him and feeling secure because you are.

I know that is not always easy and so I wanted to give you at least one reason why it is smart.

It is from Proverbs 29:25.

And not even the whole verse.

Just one aspect of it.

I want to give those of you who have a hard time trusting God one big old reason you need to.

It is dangerous not to.

That’s the concept I want to fasten in your mind. It might seem dangerous to trust God but it is actually much more dangerous not to.

The writer of Proverbs puts it like this,

“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”

It’s either one or the other.

Fearing man or trusting God.

And fearing man is dangerous.

If you are struggling with trusting God you need to understand this. If you don’t trust God you are going to trust something else. If you don’t put your confidence in God you are going to put your confidence somewhere else.

Usually it is man. Yourself or others.

It is not like you don’t seek to find your security and satisfaction in God and you automatically stop trying to find security and satisfaction. If you are not trusting God, you will seek to find your security and satisfaction somewhere else. You can never really not trust in God without at that moment putting your trust somewhere else and usually what happens we try to find our security and satisfaction in other people, which is basically what the fear of man is. It is putting man in the position of God in your life.

That’s why we see the contrast the way we do in this verse.

The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. Either I fear man or I trust God or to say it another way either I trust man or I fear God.

There’s not really such a thing as neutrality when it comes to trust. We all have to trust in someone or something.

And trusting in man, the writer tells us, is dangerous. If I don’t actively find my confidence in God am I going to actively put my confidence in people and if I actively put my confidence in people, that is dangerous.

It can be compared to stepping into a trap.

Or as we see it here, a snare.

I know for me I like that image because it really kind of graphically illustrates what I’ve got to think about when I am tempted not to put my confidence in God. I need to think about the fact that by not doing that, I am putting myself in a really risky position, kind of like walking right into this big old trap.

A snare.

Maybe I can get more specific. I want to give you three consequences of not trusting God. We’ll use that image that Solomon gives us. Think about a snare. What a snare does.

It keeps you from really getting anywhere.

It hurts you.

And it makes it easier for you to do stupid sinful things.

(More to come…)

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