Guard Your Faith

“Beware brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12).

My faith can fail. Your faith can fail.  But why?  Paul’s letters to Timothy give us some reasons why some Christians fail in their faith.

Faith of some fails through acceptance of false teaching.  “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…” (1 Timothy 4:1).  To guard against this failure, we need to be “nourished in the words of faith of the good doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:6) through reading and study of the word of God.  Too, we must check our own desires, for often false teaching enters and is accepted when sound doctrine is no longer wanted and something new or different is desired.  Hear Paul:  “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers” (2 Timothy 4:3).

For some people, faith fails through the rejection of conscience.  Although your conscience is not the standard of right and wrong, if you reject and violate the voice of conscience then it will become dysfunctional and seared (1 Timothy 4:2), insensitive to help distinguish good and evil.  The result will be a wrecked faith:  “This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck” (1 Timothy 1:18-19).  Let us be diligent to train our minds with the knowledge of the truth and keep our conscience clean and pure.  When it alerts us about a violation, let us be panged by it and repent.

For others, faith fails because of their love of this world.  “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10).  The lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life are not of the Father but are of the world, and giving oneself to any of them is a recipe for faith failure.  We must examine ourselves and root out love of this world.  Paul tells Timothy, “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11), and “Flee also youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 2:22).

My faith or your faith will not fail against our own will.  Jesus promised that nobody else can take us away from Him: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28).  But we ourselves can take ourselves away!  Let us guard our faith, and be “even more diligent to make our calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10).           -Larry Jones