In the book of Luke Jesus encountered a Roman soldier whose faith made him marvel. That is impressive. Only guy in the Bible that gets that kind of reaction from Jesus. Now faith is the way we have access to God and it is also how our access to God was broken. Do you remember Adam and Eve? Satan visited a put doubt in the minds of Adam and Eve. He makes them doubt that God has a good plan for them. He made them feel that God was holding back something from them. And they had faith in Satan’s words over the word of God. Mankind has struggled ever since. Jesus came and gave us access to God through faith in his substitutionary death, burial, and resurrection. Having faith in what Jesus did for us saves us in the hereafter and the here and now. But there are some pitfalls that prevent us from experiencing marvelous faith. 

Power

The first pitfall of our faith is our need of power. It prevents us from trusting God. In fact, it turns our abilities and accomplishments into leveraging tools to get God or others to do what we want them to do. I did this God now you owe me. There is a sense of pride and anger or envy is often experienced by those who find hope in their own power over God’s word. When we don’t get what we want or fail there is often a feeling of shame or humiliation or that sense I’ll never measure up. 

Proof

Another pitfall is that our faith is inhibited by our need to see to believe. For some of us we can’t believe in a God unless we see something that proves he exists. But here is what is strange. No one has proven that God doesn’t exist either. The common negative emotion experienced here is cynicism and your worst nightmare is making an assertion that turns out to be wrong. So therefore it is easier to make the paradoxical absolute claim that no one can know the truth or be in the constant state of searching.

Approval

We have this deep desire for people to love us. Which is why for some of us we work so hard for our spouse to love us and marry us, and then after we are married we get so disappointed with our spouse because we feel that they are not reciprocating our love and need enough, and we feel rejected. This isn’t just married people, but rather wherever a codependent person is found. This makes it difficult to turn our trust from a person to God. 

Control

The ability to to trust God is inhibited by the need to control ourselves, our work, our body, our spouse. This causes us to live in a state of worry.  We worry about measuring up, we worry about other people and what they are doing. We are worried about many things that   that we have (or should have) no control over. The nightmare we seek to avoid is that of uncertainty. 

Comfort

We can let our faith be interrupted by our desire for comfort. We can try to not live in such a way where our faith might be tested. This is safe, but it can be pretty boring. We become paralyzed because our greatest nightmare is stress and being overwhelmed…so we end up not exercising our faith and becoming more complacent. People who go through hard times, but won’t share any prayer requests generally struggle here for fear that God might fail and their worldview of God might be shattered.

Take a Look

Pause and reflect what pitfall is your primary tendency. If you don’t know think about the emotions you experience most and then see if the emotions match up to a faith pitfall. The Roman Centurion in Luke 7 understood that he nothing to leverage when it came to Jesus. He told Jesus he was unworthy to even have him enter his house. He didn’t need proof of what Jesus could do. He sent for Jesus upon hearing that Jesus could save. He overcame a need for the approval of fellow Romans by sending for a Jewish man to heal his servant. A man who represented the occupying force of Rome going  to a Jew for help was a big deal. He understood authority and submitted himself to Jesus leadership and understood that Jesus had power over sickness and disease as he had power over his soldiers. And finally, he overcame the safe way to do things and didn’t let the status quo of death go without resistance. He got people moving to get to Jesus. Where are you? Where are you in your faith journey?

Author Chris Plekenpol

Lead Pastor of Wells Branch Community Church. I love watching sports, especially Army Football, dancing with Adrienne, and thinking of creative and innovative ways to communicate the love of God.

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