What cripples faith and makes churches ineffective for the Kingdom? The things of the world that preeminence in the heart of Christians.1 John 2:15-16Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, because all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. What hinders answered prayer? Chasing after worldly pleasures instead of God (see James 4:2-3). Is it wrong to have things? No, not in itself. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also(Matthew 6:21). Who or what do you treasure the most?
When people are more concerned about what pleases them than what pleases God, they become ignorant of His will.
In fact, a number of them try to bend God’s will to conform to theirs. Essentially, they reign on the throne of their heart while claiming Jesus Christ is their Lord. A telling statement is, “This is what I want in a church.” When you are more concerned about your agenda than God’s will, Jesus is not your Lord in those times.
Unfortunately, in a self-centered culture, some have a difficult time bending their knees to the King of kings and Lord of lords. In truth, it’s religion masquerading as the Church.
Religion wants God to perform for its pleasure.
The reason some stumble with faith is they are trying to get Him to do their bidding. In their heart, the sacrifice Jesus made is not enough reason to serve Him; even though, they were created for His pleasure. Are they saying reconciliation with the Father is not enough? Do they mean to say that unless God gives them what they want, they won’t serve Him? How does that fit with loving God?
Do you serve God for reward? Yes, He does reward obedience; but, we all must be wary of becoming hired hands. Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up His cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). Obedience is based on love; not personal gain.
Let’s get down to some nuts and bolts of faith. Romans 10:17So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Those who are not listening to God, will not walk by faith. On occasion, you may come across someone who picks verses of Scripture that fit their desires, act on them, and call that faith.
That is not faith; that’s more like using the Bible to put words in the Lord’s mouth.
We all have to be careful about how we handle the Word of God. 2 Corinthians 5:9-11Therefore we are also laboring to be well-pleasing to Him, whether at home or away from home. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive the things done through the body, according to that which he has done, whether good or bad. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men….
Whether it’s on a congregational or individual level, we must consider where we’re at in relation to the will of God. If we’re producing little or no fruit, then we may have some repenting ahead of us. Sometimes, it’s more of a question of clarity than it is insisting on one’s own way. That is the time to ask for wisdom, which is another lesson in itself. If there is a lot of quarreling or bickering going on in a church, the wisdom of God is absent (see James 3:13-18). The bottom line is to have effective faith; you need to fully submit to the Lord.