Faith is precious. The Bible says so in 1 Peter. In the scripture, Peter writes that our faith is of greater worth than gold.
Like all precious things, our faith is sometimes vulnerable and needs protecting. The Bible also says that our enemy, the Devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Satan eats up faith for breakfast. His purpose is to make us faithless and fill our hearts with doubt and despair. Here are three ways that Satan uses to try to destroy our faith and how we can overcome these attacks.
In Philippians 4, Paul reminds the church to “not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present [our] requests to God.”
Anxiety and worry eats up our faith by distracting us. It distracts us from prayer and connecting with an all-powerful God. It also causes us to be ungrateful (notice how Paul encourages disciples to pray with thanksgiving).
When we are ungrateful, we will focus on what we lack, the things that are inadequate, rather than focus on how God has already provided through his promises. We can fight worry by following what Paul says: by praying through our anxieties.
Some doubt is good. It’s good to question things and to be skeptical. Being skeptical of untrustworthy people is healthy. But doubts are only good for us if we are willing to resolve them.
God is gracious towards our doubts. He understands that most of the time we are slow to obey and slow to understand His ways, but God doesn’t want us to be tossed and turned in our doubts. Ultimately this is because doubt is another word for a lack of trust.
In Matthew 14, Jesus reached out and asked Peter “why did you doubt?”. Peter doubted because he saw the winds and was afraid. What Jesus wanted of Peter and what he wants of us is his trust.
If we have mistrust towards God, we almost certainly have trust in something else. Our trust could be in our own abilities, our circumstances, other people or even in our own ability to doubt. A good way to fight our doubts is sometimes to be like Peter: to step out of a boat and make a radical decision.
When Nathan rebukes David for sinning with Bathsheba he asks: “Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes?” When someone despises something it means that he holds it in contempt or regards it with disdain.
Though as disciples we are saved into a loving relationship with God, if we are not careful our hearts can begin to harden over time. Bitterness and sin’s deceitfulness can begin to morph our tastes and affections to despise God and his word. Our hearts can harden to a point where we no longer believe the word of God, not because we are filled with doubts or uncertainty, but because we do not respect it.
We can fight our contempt against God by praying that God continually soften our hearts towards him.
Let’s fight against these three enemies of faith, step out and make radical choices for God.