Let us continue with our series on faith. We have looked at and defined what Faith Is. We then looked at what Your Picture Of Faith looks like. Lastly, we looked at just How Important Is Your Faith. We know that it has been a while since our last post, but we want to review a few things before we proceed. First, let us look at the definition of faith again. Earlier we defined faith as the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen and it is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us even though we cannot see it up ahead. Faith is trust in somebody or something, especially without logical proof. It is also trusting in somebody that you consider worthwhile and truthful. It is also accepting that something exists when there is no physical proof of its existence or of its reality. This definition has been the cornerstone of this series. Now we want to examine some of the enemies to our faith.
One of the biggest enemies to our faith is our lack of knowledge or our ignorance when it comes to the word of God.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children (Hosea 4:6).
According to this scripture, God says that his people are destroyed because they lack knowledge. This lack of knowledge that God speaks of is not due to the knowledge being hidden or due to the knowledge being unavailable. This lack is not due to there being a shortage of knowledge either. The problem does not appear to stem from either of these two things. This lack of knowledge that God is speaking of here, exists because we, his people have rejected the knowledge. By rejecting the knowledge, we are being held as captives, imprisoned by the very thing that we lack and do not possess.
Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honorable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst (Isaiah 5:13).
The scripture tells us that we have gone into captivity because we do not possess the knowledge. The really sad part about all of this is that we seem to be completely unaware that any of this is happening to us. We do not even know that we lack any knowledge because by rejecting it, to us, the knowledge does not exist. And because the knowledge does not exist, we fail to recognize that we are being held captive by the very thing that we lack.
Because we have not followed God’s instructions, we have had to put our faith and our trust in man’s interpretation of who God is, what God is, what God does, and what God says, just to scratch the surface. This is not to say anything negative about the men and women of God who are amongst us spreading God’s true gospel, but is directed towards those who are spreading a different kind of gospel. And because we repeatedly fail to follow God’s instructions, we find ourselves deeper and deeper in this abyss that we continually dig for ourselves, with no recognizable way to exit.
Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm (strength), and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath (a shrub) in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see (fear) when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful (anxious) in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit (Jeremiah 17:5-8).
God tells us that cursed is the man who puts his trust and faith in the mortal man and turns his heart away from God. This man is like a stunted shrub in the desert who will not see when the good comes nor has he hope for the future. His living-place is in the salt-encrusted dry places of the barren wasteland, where good times forever pass him by. But the man who trusts in the Lord and who has made the Lord his hope and confidence is blessed. This man is like a tree planted by the waters along the riverbank, with its roots reaching deep into the water. He will be like a tree that is not bothered by the heat nor has any fear as the long months of drought come, for its leaves will remain green nor will it cease from producing fruit.
As you can see, God wants us to place our trust and faith in him. But there appears to be much confusion in the minds of the many who claim to follow God. Because of our lack of knowledge, we actually do not know who God is. And because we do not know who God is, our faith and our trust end up being misplaced. We do not even notice that we are being tossed back and forth, going from this way to that, and being turned about by every wind of doctrine and teaching of man. This is why we need to find out the truth for ourselves to see what God has said about himself and not put our trust totally in man’s interpretation because it can be twisted and deceitful. God has warned us to beware of the false prophets that come to us in sheep’s clothing because inwardly they are but greedy voracious predators.
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening (ravenous) wolves (Matthew 7:15).
But we have gotten things so mixed up that we listen to and believe, without question, the wolves in sheep’s clothing, while trying our best to discredit the true men and women of God, by not believing or accepting, as truth, any of the gospel that they speak.
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed (transforms himself) into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works (II Corinthians 11:13-15).
God has instructed us not to believe every spirit but to test each one to see if they be of God or not, because there be many false prophets that are in the world. We see from this passage that Satan is one who can transform himself into an angel of light and his servants can transform themselves into ministers of righteousness
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try (test) the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world (I John 4:1).
However, in order to do the test, we must have the knowledge. The only way to get the knowledge is to study. By studying, we actually search the scriptures ourselves to see what God has said about himself. And by studying, we learn to rightly divide the word of truth. Once we learn to rightly divide the word of truth, the revelation knowledge will come.
Study (Be diligent) to show (present) thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (II Timothy 2:15).
So, we do not study as God has instructed us to do. We pretend to study. For some, we go to Bible study classes and follow a scripted lesson plan that is designed to herd the participants into a pasture where we are fed a word that sounds similar to the word but it is not the word. And this similar word that we be fed, we usually accept, without question, as being truth. For others, we just open up the Bible and read a few verses. And when we are done, we feel great because we can recite a scripture or two. Both methods leave us empty of the required understanding and void of the true revelation of God’s word. Besides, neither of these be what God has instructed us to do.
Sadly enough, we continue to do the same thing, while expecting God to do something about our problems and our situations. Well, we have some bad news for all who are expecting God to move in your life; It ain’t gonna happen. We guess the correct thing to say is that it is not going to happen until we do our part; until we do what we are supposed to do. We are to be diligent in our studying of this word of truth as a worker who is going to present himself before God. We need to know what this word of truth says and what this word of truth means. This includes understanding it. We need to be a good worker who needs not to be ashamed when God examines our work, as we rightly divide this word of truth. But this rightly dividing of the word of truth can only come when we do as God has instructed. Just as we can rightly divide the word of truth, we can also wrongly divide this word of truth. Wrongly dividing the word of truth can have dire consequences and devastating effects.
Because we lack the knowledge that enables us to recognize the false apostles and deceitful workers, who can transform themselves into the apostles of Christ, we have freely placed our faith and trust in their interpretations, amongst other things. While God is not the author of confusion, the many different interpretations of his word have created the state of confusion that we find ourselves. Because we lack the knowledge, we have allowed Satan, the false apostles, and the deceitful workers to contribute their fair share to this confusion as well. God has made a provision for us, so that we can find our way through all of the confusion and come to the truth, but we seldom follow his guidelines. We want to do our own thing; we want to follow the path of least resistance.
God wants us to study his word to show ourselves approved unto him. This means that God wants us to investigate his word, he wants us analyze his word, and he wants us to question his word. God wants us to find out all that we can find out about his word. Only by doing this first will we be able to follow the second part of his instructions, which is, to rightly divide the word of truth. Since we do not study, then we are unable show ourselves approved to God. Since we do not study, then we typically wrongly divide the word of truth. And because we have wrongly divided the word of truth, we do not have the proper knowledge we need to test the every spirit as God has told us to do, and we do not recognize the wolves in sheep’s clothing. Think about it this way, usually the person giving the test is the same person who already knows the answers to all the test questions. But because we do not have answers, we do not know the right questions to ask and by not asking the right questions, we accept anything and anyone that sounds as if it may have come from God.
If we studied as instructed by God, we would recognize that the Bible is a mystery book with many secrets, hidden in plain sight just waiting to be found. We would know that the Bible holds a double meaning, one by which his children can find the true will of God for their life and one that just confuses the naysayers. There are answers for everyone in the Bible but many take the Bible at face value, meaning they have some knowledge of the word of God but will accept only those things, which fit into their belief system. They have not taken the time to truly seek God, to truly find out what he is trying to tell his children, or to truly find the meaning of the scriptures that they read.
My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh (Proverbs 4:20-22).
The idea that we are to attend to God’s words hold little meaning for some because just carrying a Bible with them fits the commandment. God wants us to attend to his words, which means that we need to listen carefully to his words and we need to pay close attention to what is being said. When we attend to his words, we learn that they are life unto those that find them, meaning God’s words are full, abundant life unto those that hunt for, look for, or seek those words. The last time any of us had to listen carefully and pay close attention to something this intently was when we were in school. For some of us, when we were there, we studied. Maybe it is time to for us to go back to that school mentality.
There appears to be more to knowing God then just opening our Bible and reading a verse or two. It appears that we need to immerse ourselves in God’s word as we hunt for, look for, and seek the knowledge that he has provided for us. We are being destroyed because of our lack of knowledge when it comes to the word of God. And because we lack this knowledge, we are being held captive by the very thing that we lack. Because we have no knowledge, we have inadvertently placed our faith and our trust in the interpretations that have obviously come from Satan, the false apostles, and his deceitful workers. Because we have no knowledge, we are unable to perform the required test to determine the validity of the messenger, much less the soundness of their message.
Our lack of knowledge causes our faith to become ineffective. The level of our faith cannot exceed the level of our knowledge base. No one can have faith for or in that which he or she does not have knowledge of. In other words, if you have no knowledge of a thing, then you cannot have faith for or in such a thing. We are being destroyed because of our lack of knowledge when it comes to the word of God. And because we lack this knowledge, we are being held captive by the very thing that we lack. We must open our mind, open our heart, and seek the wisdom of God that we may see the truth; the truth that he has been trying to reveal to us for many years. In his word, there are hidden wisdoms that only the true seeker can obtain. However, to obtain this truth, we must eliminate the enemies to our faith. And this is why we have to pick our Bible up, open it, and do a little more than just read it. We have to dissect it. We have to pick it apart. We have to analyze it. We have to examine it. We have to study it. We have to rightly divide it. In order to eliminate this enemy to our faith, these are the things we have to do. Our lack of knowledge or our ignorance when it comes to the word of God is just one of many enemies to our faith that we need to overcome. (to be continued).
Enjoy your blessings – KW