One thing I have learned about having a doubtful attitude, is that it can creep up on us without our even noticing it, until it begins to take root in our hearts and minds. When I got very sick not too long ago, a dear friend of mine helped me to realize that my doubt was making it hard for me to believe God for a speedy recovery. So I sought the Lord for His wisdom and perspective in the matter, and He pointed out some things that had contributed to my lack of faith.
God showed me that I was suffering from excessive fatigue, and I have learned the hard way that when I'm really tired, my faith doesn't work the way it should. My busy schedule was making me weary and worn out, and I was keeping later hours than was good for me. Because of the nature of our high-tech culture, many of us get very little "downtime" these days. We make ourselves available to others almost around the clock, and it doesn't take long for our minds and bodies to become overwhelmed and overloaded. Those of us who are in full-time or part-time ministry are some of the worst offenders in this area. Having an intense desire to reach out to those who are in need can cause us to neglect our own need for rest and recreation. If we are not careful, we will burn ourselves out, and then we won't be any good to anyone, including God. Scripture tells us, "God wants His loved ones to get their proper rest." (Psalm 127:2 TLB) Sometimes, all we need to do is to restructure our priorities. If we seek the Lord for His help in this area, you can bet that He will show us what changes we need to make. Then it's up to us to follow through and make those changes, even if we need to say "no" to some people and things.
God helped me to realize that another reason why my faith was faltering, was that I was not confessing His Word, or claiming His promises, as diligently as I had in the past. The Bible tells us, "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17 NKJV) I have discovered that nothing builds my faith as much as hearing my own voice speaking the Scriptures aloud to myself. I like to think of Romans 10:17 as saying that "faith comes from hearing the promises of God" over and over. This is why I have "promise books" around my house, and faith-building verses tacked on my home office walls. And I have learned the incredible power behind the wisdom of Joshua 1:8 (NLT): "Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do." The best way to "meditate" on God's Word "day and night" is to memorize it, and deposit it into your heart and mind, so that you can pray it, and speak it aloud "continually". The Lord says that this is a good way to "prosper and succeed in all you do". And that's not just where our ministry efforts are concerned, but also our efforts as spouses, parents, grandparents, children, and employees - virtually every area of our lives, and everything God assigns us to do.
The Lord also showed me that I had been focusing on the disappointments in my life and work lately, and it was greatly hindering my faith. I once heard a godly man say that disappointment is inevitable, but discouragement is a choice. Whether we like it or not, people will sometimes disappoint us. We can also disappoint ourselves, especially when we have certain expectations for how well we should perform on our jobs, or in our ministries. When we don't receive the recognition or reward we feel we deserve, disappointment can weigh heavily upon us. God knows how destructive discouragement can be to our minds and our bodies, so He gives us encouragement in His Word to lift us up, and to help us refocus. He says, "But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded." (2 Chronicles 15:7 NIV) I especially like the Message Bible translation which says, "Be strong. Take heart. Payday is coming!" Hallelujah! When the apostle Paul wanted to encourage God's people, he wrote: "Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." (1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV) The Living Bible translation says, "Nothing you do for the Lord is ever wasted." There are times when I have been working especially hard without seeing tangible results, and the Spirit of God prompts me to declare: "Nothing I do for the Lord is ever wasted! My payday is on its way!" Refreshing comes instantly, and my faith is energized to help me keep going.
If you are wrestling with doubt yourself right now, I am here to tell you that this is not God's will for you. It's my prayer today that you will apply this message to your life, so that your belief in God and His Word will be recharged and restored for good!
Prayer: Lord, teach me about the ways that I can make myself vulnerable to doubt and unbelief, so that I can make the necessary changes, and live the abundant life that Jesus died to give me. When I begin to get weary and worn out, convict me by Your Spirit, and help me to get the rest and recreation that I need. Make me diligent in meditating on Your Word and promises, so that I can experience prosperity and success in every area of my life. Help me to take discouragement seriously, so that it will not drag me down, and hinder my faith. Thank You that as I work with You for the building and maintaining of my faith, I WILL fulfill my God-given purpose and potential!
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