JOURNEY TO FREEDOM

UNIT II Key 2                 FAITH

 

SCRIPTURE PRINCIPLE: Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Faith is truly an awesome power. By faith we are saved from our sin. Faith changes our lives. Faith makes us willing to be obedient to the Lord. Faith assures us that God loves us, and it makes us willing to love others. Faith tells us that we can call upon the Lord in every situation in life, and expect His help.

Faith cannot be earned; it is a free gift given by God’s mercy. Nothing in us is able to have faith; the Holy Spirit brings all of it to us. Nothing in us makes us able to have faith in Jesus, repent of our sins, accept His forgiveness, or realize we need Him. The Holy Spirit plants faith in our hearts and grows it through the Word of God.

One common mistake is the idea that if we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, all our ssa/ma/tx temptations will simply go away. When this does not happen, many ssa/ma/tx people lose their faith, doubt their salvation, doubt God’s power to change their lives, or wonder if they were “born that way”.

These temptations do not easily go away for several reasons. One is because we are still sinners, even though we have been saved by God’s mercy in Christ. We have received a New Nature; but the Old Nature is still with us, has been with us since we were born, and has had a head start. The Old Nature has had more time to develop sinful habits, which have been reinforced by pleasurable sensations, and those habits are wired into the nerves of our brains. The New Nature has to go to war against sinful habits that have had plenty of time to become entrenched.

Another reason temptations do not just go away is because we live in a sinful world. People will invent almost any idea to defend their self-will and oppose God’s will. Unproven scientific theories are widely accepted because they defend human sin. History is sometimes re-written to justify a life of sin. Empty philosophies make us feel better about ourselves, no matter how we are living. Society gives very little help to one who is sincerely seeking to live God’s way.

The devil joins our own sinful nature and our environment to tempt us. Our temptations are no accident; the devil planned them. He knows all our weaknesses and triggers, and uses other people to persuade us to give in to temptation. He even uses people in the Church, who have weaknesses and triggers of their own, to trip up their brothers and sisters in Christ.

In spite of all the forces standing against our faith, the Holy Spirit continues to grow it in our lives. Our part is to stay in the Word. When we use the Word to fight against temptation, we can have victory. Over time we experience our temptations becoming weaker and bad habits disappearing. Faith is truly the victory that overcomes the world (I John 5:4), because Christ has overcome sin, death, and the power of the devil on our behalf. Therefore, we have faith that He will help us overcome our temptations.

Faith grows in difficult circumstances. Faith is like a muscle; we grow physical muscles by resisting gravity or isometric force, and we grow our faith while resisting temptation. Sin often appears to be the path of least resistance; faith realizes that the path of least resistance often leads to trouble. Faith does not automatically resist temptation at first; only after persistently resisting temptation are we able to get rid of the sinful habit. Faith grows when we see Jesus showing His power on our behalf.

For many years, we used ssa/ma/tx fantasies, lusts, and actions to comfort ourselves when stressed and to avoid painful emotions. When we resist temptation, we then have to face those emotions. Faith brings joy, but faith does not mean that we can avoid facing pain. Facing pain is often necessary if we are going to overcome a habitual sin; the pain is a blessing because God is working on our hearts.

In the middle of pain, we can hear God speak to us. In the middle of pain, we can identify the lies of the devil. In the middle of pain, the Holy Spirit can teach us things that we would not learn otherwise. Jesus is waiting to meet us in the pain. We need faith in order to persist through the pain to the truth that will set us free.

Faith assures us that we can move mountains (Matthew 17:20). We have mountains of personal habits, negative thoughts, lies of the devil, wrong motivations, anger, anxiety, shame, depression, hostility towards others, grudges, judgmental attitudes, and more. To overcome all of this, we may need to accept pain and believe by faith that the pain is both necessary and temporary. Faith tells us that we are weak and God is strong. Faith tells us that Jesus has already won the victory (I John 4:4) over sin, death, and the devil (I Corinthians 15:56-57). He is always with us, warring on our behalf. He does for us what we could never do for ourselves.

SCRIPTURE Write each of these verses or passages means to you and your situation.

Psalm 30:5

Hebrews 11:1

Proverbs 15:29

Romans 4:18-25

Matthew 7:21-29

Psalm 127:1-2

STUDY GUIDE (Feel free to write on the backside or use additional paper if necessary.)

  1. Why do we need faith in Jesus (Proverbs 20:9 and Acts 15:9)?
  1. What is God saying to you in II Corinthians 5:7?
  1. What is God saying to you in I Corinthians 15:20, 25, & 56-57?
  1. How do you apply Proverbs 22:3 to your struggle?
  1. Check which best describes your faith at this time:

____non-existent

____weak

____growing

____dynamic

Please explain your answer.

  1. Check which best describes how you use your faith during temptation:

_____never use it

_____use it on occasion

_____use it about half of the time

_____use it more often than not

_____use it most of the time

_____use it consistently, it has become an automatic reflex

Please explain your answer.

  1. Are there any specific problems you are having with faith?
  1. Can you give a specific example of where using your faith helped you?
  1. What new things have you learned about faith?

10 On a scale of 1-10, how victorious have you been lately (1 is lowest, 10 is highest)? Please explain your answer.

11.On a scale of 1-10, how much memory work have you done?

  1. Did you use any memorized Scripture to battle temptation lately? What was the result?
  1. How is your spiritual life in general, how are your private devotions, and how are things at your church/fellowship group?

Plan of Action: