Summary: Why do some people lose their faith? This message answers the question, "How Can I Keep my Faith in a Secular World?
How can you keep your faith strong in a culture that is increasingly antagonistic toward Christians? This week, a missionary friend told me about a friend of hers from Bible College who came for a visit to her missionary location. They attended a well known, Conservative Christian university. Her friend was a spiritual leader on campus, and was one of the school’s residence supervisors. Everyone looked up to her.
On the second or third day of her visit, the friend shared the real reason that she had come to visit. Without sadness or remorse, she told my missionary friend that she no longer considered herself a Christian. She stopped going to church years ago, and she no longer prays, reads her Bible or even believes in God. Needless to say, my missionary friend was shocked and greatly surprised because this young woman seemed like such a strong Christian just a few years ago. She reasoned with her visiting guest, but they left without any change of heart.
Why do some people lose their faith? There are deep theological questions connected with this question - questions centered on eternal security and whether a person’s faith was genuine in the first place. This message is not intended to answer these questions, but rather to ask the question, “How Can I Keep My Faith Strong?”
There are many contributing factors that cause some to walk away from their Christian faith. I believe that these three are the most obvious.
SIN is the first and foremost example. In fact, all of the reasons one would deny the faith are sin, but here I am thinking of a person who wishes to continue to sin against God. One such example is the friend of the Apostle Paul, Demas. We read in 2 Timothy 4:10 "For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me.” One could not have a greater teacher, mentor or example that the Apostle Paul, yet for Demas, the lure of sin was so strong that he left Paul’s side to continue in whatever worldly practices to which he was lured.
PERSECUTION or TRIALS are another reason that some walk away. Jesus spoke of this as the “seed that fell in the rocky soil.” Matthew 13:20–21 "[the rocky soil] is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away."
A third reason some fall away is PRESSURE from the WORLD. Romans 12:2 "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
This third example is what we want to focus on today.
How can I keep my faith from faltering when there is so much pressure from the world?
The Pressure can be GREAT! Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego experienced a tremendous amount of pressure to bow down and worship the statute of Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel 3:1–12 (ESV) 1 King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its breadth six cubits. He set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. 2 Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent to gather the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 3 Then the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4 And the herald proclaimed aloud, “You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, 5 that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.” 7 Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 8 Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews. 9 They declared to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! 10 You, O king, have made a decree, that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image. 11 And whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace. 12 There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”