Summary: Here is a list of obstacles to trusting God and the steps necessary to overcome them.
Obstacles to Faith
18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be."
19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead-- since he was about a hundred years old-- and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.
20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,
21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
God means for us, and has planned for us to move on in our faith–away from little faith to great faith. However, Satan is at work to hinder our growth in faith. He sees to it that we encounter certain obstacles to faith. They are real, not imagined.
In military training, recruits must pass an obstacle course before they graduate from basic training. These barriers are formidable, but can be conquered. They serve a purpose—to test and strengthen the soldier who may one day face other barriers while in combat.
Once we scale our faith obstacles, we are fitted to trust God in the future. Here are some faith barriers:
1. The Jacob Factor: Believing a Lie
❏ Jacob believed his 10 sons when they led him to believe that Joseph had been killed by an animal.
❏ The Jacob factor will keep our faith from growing. Our faith will not grow if we believe a lie. Some examples of lies that Satan promotes:
- the Bible has some errors in it
- Focus your attention on human personalities
- Believe the majority (10 spies)
2. The Philip Factor: Relying Only on Rational Ability
❏ In John 6:5-7 we find the record of the feeding of the 5,000 men plus women and children.
❏ Philip could not see beyond facts, beyond his existing resources. This is a battle between faith and the rational mind.
Illus.:When I was research head of General Motors and wanted a problem solved, I’d place a table outside the meeting room with a sign: Leave slide rules here. If I didn’t do that, I’d find someone reaching for his slide rule. Then he’d be on his feet saying, "Boss, you can’t do it."
Charles F. Kettering in Bits & Pieces, Dec, 1991, p. 24.
3. The Peter Factor: A Blind Leap Into the Dark
❏ Impetuous Peter, spontaneous, enthusiastic. He grabbed a sword and cut off the ear of a temple guard. He did it sincerely, but hastily. He denied the old adage, “Look before you leap.”
❏ Faith is not a blind leap into the dark; faith is a “leap into the light.” To walk by faith we must always step into the light of the Word of God.
❏ Illus.: Some students rushed off to Bible college, trusting God for finances. The problem was that these students had left debts at home that needed to be paid. When they got to college they increased their debt. They became so burdened with debt that their lives ended up a shipwreck.
❏ Living by faith doesn’t mean that you throw all caution to the wind. Count the cost. Step out in the light of God’s Word. Look for principles. Be careful of extremes and of taking verses our of context.
4. The Thomas Factor: Sign Seekers
❏ Thomas: “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25).
❏ Miracle-seekers, who are experience-oriented. God wants us to base our faith on His promises. If we have to see it, is that faith?
5. The Andrew Factor: Impossible Odds
8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up,
9 "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?"
❏ Andrew could not take the big view, nd sometimes the eternal view. Don’t let the things at hand limit your faith. Remember the rod of God in the hand of Moses? It was used for plagues, parting the sea, water out of a rock.
6. King Saul Factor: Fear
Saul was afraid of the Philistines, so he consulted a witch instead of God. Fear does terrible things to us. It causes us to look away from the only One who can bring calm to our souls.
Isa 30:15: This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.
Some years ago, a young ministerial student was learning how to fly. His instructor told him to put the plane into a steep and extended dive. The student was totally unprepared for what was about to happen. After a brief time the engine stalled, and the plane began to plunge out of control. It soon became evident that the instructor was not going to help him at all. After a few seconds, which seemed like an eternity, his mind began to function again. He quickly corrected the situation. Then he turned to the instructor and began to vent his frustrations on him. The instructor calmly said to his student, “There is no position you can get this airplane into that I cannot get you out of. If you want to learn to fly, get back up there and do it again!” At that moment God seemed to be saying to him, “Remember this. As you serve Me. There is no situation you can get yourself into that I cannot get you out of. If you trust me, you will be all right.” That was a lesson that has proven true in his ministry many times over the years.