The unnecessary breakdown of faith

Published 6:39 pm Monday, December 2, 2019

What a tragic ring it has. When a man or woman has to say, “I did believe in Christ, but not now. It’s a terrible thing when faith breaks down.

How do we guard against our faith breaking down?

If I may, I’d like to offer these suggestions.

First, expect the path of faith to be difficult from the beginning. One of the certain things that leads to a breakdown of faith is the mistaken notion that the path of faith is easy.

When William Tyndale was persecuted because he sought to give the Bible to the people in the English language, he said calmly: “I never expected anything else.”

The Christian life is a life of struggle, a life of continuing temptation, a life of advances and denials, a life of joys and frustrations, a life of tedious self-discipline.

For only as we discipline our faith in priority, prayer, study, worship, commitment and trust in God does our faith become stronger. Otherwise, it breaks down.

Second, we guard against our faith breaking down by moving beyond pat answers. 

I read a little book called, “Where Was God” by Erwin Lutzer, a longtime former pastor of the Moody Church in Chicago. It’s a book about God and natural disasters. 

Without a doubt, the book points out the uselessness of pat answers.

Among other things, Jesus said, “Love me with all your mind.” To me, that takes us beyond pat answers.

Third, we guard against our faith breaking down by keeping our devotional life current. Not long ago a minister friend and I were having lunch together. After we had chatted awhile, this friend asked me what advice I would give him as he transitioned from being the pastor of a small church to a larger church. Immediately, I replied, “Keep up your devotional life.”

Fourth, we guard against our faith breaking down by noting the practice of the psalmist. The psalmist stated, “My feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped…” (Psalm 73:2).

So testified the psalmist as he came to a time when his faith was in retreat.

So how did the psalmist deal with his near-collapse of faith? He tells us very specifically. Said the psalmist, “I went into the sanctuary of God” (Psalm 73:17).

One of the best therapies I know is just going into the sanctuary of God and being reminded that “God is.”

Now, I ask you, what value would it be to us and our insecure world to trust that above all the confusion and darkness there is still God. “I went into the sanctuary of God.”

No breaking down of the faith here.