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The Pathway of Faith - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
September 15, 2022 12:00 am

The Pathway of Faith - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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September 15, 2022 12:00 am

Faith is a pathway to God that shapes who we are as believers.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Thursday, September 15th. Today, we'll find practical guidance for keeping our life moving forward on a steady course. Stay tuned for help in navigating the pathway of faith. If you look around at your circumstances, you might have a pretty good reason for being a little bit afraid. If you're just sort of looking at circumstances from a human point of view. Well, I can understand that except for this point. What about our relationship to God? What does that do with where we are, no matter what our circumstances are? And is our relationship with Him dependent upon our circumstances?

Or is that relationship superior and overall above everything else in life? There are a lot of people who are very, very afraid. But the question is, do I have a legitimate reason to be afraid if I'm really who I say I am, a follower of Jesus Christ? Well, there are only two paths to walk. There's the path of fear and the path of faith. And oftentimes people say they're walking in faith when they're really in fear.

But you can't have both. You can't be in fear and faith at the same time. It's like you can't trust God and not trust Him at the same time.

And so, which road would you say that you're traveling? That in spite of everything going on, you're walking the pathway of faith because you've learned what it means. So, I want you to turn, if you will, to the forty-first chapter of Isaiah, to the probably the most powerful passage in the Scriptures when it comes to this whole issue of faith and trusting God. And while He, God is saying this to the nation of Israel, what He says is certainly true of us individually because it is the promise of God. So, if you'll begin with me in verse eight of this forty-first chapter of Isaiah. It says, "'But you Israel, My servant Jacob, whom I have chosen, descendant of Abraham, My friend, you whom I have taken from the ends of the earth and called from its remotest parts, and said to you, You are My servant. I have chosen you and not rejected you.'"

Now, listen to what He says about His relationship to Israel, which is certainly true of us today. For He says, "'Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored, and those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish. You will seek those who quarrel with you, but you'll not find them.

Those who war with you will be as nothing and nonexistent. For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, who says to you, Do not fear, I will help you.'" Now, what an awesome promise from God. And the issue here is this, number one, and that is this promise is only to God's people. It is not to people who've rejected Him.

It's not to people who've rejected Jesus Christ. These words are to God's people. Now, when you think about the pathway of fear, for example, and what the Lord makes very, very clear in His Word. For example, the apostle Paul said to Timothy, he said, "'God has not given us a spirit of fear.'"

It didn't come from him. "'God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.'" We think right. And so, when you look at how people think and respond to things, and so many people are filled with fear, this could happen because they see things happening in other places and they think, well, this could happen to me, that could happen to me. God does not want us walking in fear. Now, somebody says, well, what about what the Bible says about fearing God? Doesn't that mean I'm to be afraid of Him because He's holy?

No. I'm to be in awe of Him because He's holy. I'm to reverence Him for who He is. He is the sovereign God of the universe.

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. To reverence Him, you have to be afraid of Him? No. Now, if I'm living in sin, afraid of Him?

Yes. You're living in sin and living in disobedience to God, rebellion toward Him, and afraid of God? You have an absolute right to be because you are going to suffer the consequences of that sin. But if you're a child of God, He paid your sin debt in full on the cross two thousand years ago. You're one of His children, sealed by the Holy Spirit forever, a child of God. Your name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life.

You don't have nothing to be afraid of. Now, when we disobey God, what happens? The very presence of sin in our life causes fear. Look at the first book of the Bible, Genesis chapter three, when Adam and Eve sinned and God came seeking them, and they're over here hiding in the bushes somewhere, and God is asking, well, you know, what's the deal here? What does Adam say?

I was afraid. What caused Adam to be afraid? Sin in his life. And when sin is a part of the life of the believer, it naturally creates fear in our relationship to God. But that's because of something we're doing, not because of something God is doing. So, fear does not fit who we are.

We're the children of God. And so, when you think about all the reasons, naturally, fear is going to steal our peace and joy and happiness and contentment in life. Our prayer life is, it won't be much worth anything for the simple reason, if I'm afraid, I'm doubting Him. And so, if I come to Him asking for some request, and yet I'm doubting whether He's going to do it or not, it's because of something going on inside of me. Fear creates doubt. And so, there are lots of consequences that God does not intend for our life.

And as you look at this whole list of things. So, ask yourself the question, what is it that deep down inside I fear? Do I fear losing my job?

Do I fear financial? What is it you're afraid of? I can tell you, you have no reason as a child of God to live in fear. It's not the will of God.

It's not His purpose, not His plan. And it's not anything in the Scripture that would challenge me to be afraid unless I choose to live in absolute disobedience to God. So, for the child of God, fear doesn't fit who we are. And look at all that Jesus said, all the Apostle Paul teaches us, it's not to be afraid. God has not given us a spirit of fear but of love, of power and of a sound mind. Whole different perspective on life. So, the person who travels the pathway of fear is going to be disappointed, going to end up not being able to accomplish the things that God wants you to accomplish in life.

So, that kind of life doesn't fit us, so what is it? What about the pathway of faith? We don't want to spend any more time on failure and fear, but what about the pathway of faith? If I'm going to walk that pathway, what is required of me?

What will I do? What will be the style of my life if I am walking in faith? And here's the first thing, and that is I am going to focus on God, not on my circumstances no matter what they are. This is what Satan does. He gets us focused on our circumstances. And you know what?

A little anthill becomes a molehill and finally becomes a gigantic mountain because the longer we think about it and the more reasons we think it won't work, then the larger the problem gets. He wants us focusing on Him. Now, I'm going to give you a verse of Scripture that I quote many times, but I want you to turn to it because I want you to read it with me and I want you to see it. Listen to this verse of Scripture. Psalm one oh three, verse nineteen, the Lord has established His throne in the heavens and His sovereignty rules over all. What does that mean? It means that God who is the sovereign ruler of this universe rules over all things, all times, all circumstances, all people.

There is nothing outside beyond Him and beyond His rule and His control no matter what. And there's a whole blast of people who'd say that can't possibly be true because why did this plane crash? Why did this car wreck? Why did they die?

Why am I sick? Why, why, why, why, why? Listen, He says His sovereignty rules over all. Just because God doesn't do things the way I would like to have Him done sometime, just because He doesn't operate on our schedule and do according to our plan, we think He's not in control. Well, if He's not in control, who is? Is the devil in control? Absolutely not. You in control?

Absolutely not. God is in absolute control of all things. Now, people who do not believe that will be quick to say, well, this is a verse I believe. I believe the verse that says, "'God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who call according to His purpose.'"

Now, many people who are not Christians and many people who are Christians would say it this way, God causes all things to work together for good. That is not what the Bible says. That is not what it says. It does not say God causes all things to work together for good. That's not what it says. He says God causes all things to work together for good for together for good to those who love Him." Now watch this, who loves Him?

What did He say? Those who love Me will obey Me. God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, that is, to those who obey Him and are called according to His purpose. If I'm living a righteous life, a godly life, God is going to turn everything for My good no matter what happens. But it isn't just a matter because He's just going to make everything good. Every single one of us could testify to the fact that everything hasn't always turned out just good.

It's good from God's perspective and good for His purpose. For example, if I were twenty-five years of age, you could say, you know, He doesn't live long enough. But I've lived long enough as a believer to tell you this. I've been through wars, hardship, pain, all kind of situations and circumstances in my life, just like many of you. And I'm here to tell you this, God has turned every difficulty, every hardship, every loss, every separation, no matter what, for my good and His glory every single time. You say, but my circumstance, you don't know my circumstance. So you can't, you can't argue that. Here's the reason, because He says His sovereignty rules over all, and that for His children, He will cause everything to work together for good if we obey Him, walking in obedience to Him, He will turn it for our good.

That's who He is. So therefore, I don't have any reason to be worried and fretting and fuming if I honestly and truly believe that God is in control. So something comes along and I get disappointed. You say, well, see there, God's not in control. Mm-mm-mm, listen, remember, disappointment is inevitable, discouragement is a choice.

Just because I get disappointed doesn't mean I have to be discouraged. God is ready to turn our hardships and difficulties and pains into something good. That's why I can walk the pathway of faith, not fear, because, listen, because of who He is, not who we are, because of who He is and because His character doesn't change and He's not prejudiced.

Going to do this for this person, not that for the other. Walking in obedience to Him, fulfilling His plan for your life, God is on your side and He has every circumstance under control. So, God is at work in the life of His children.

So, we don't have to worry about, well, suppose this and suppose that and suppose the other and we can just work up a pretty bad case if we choose to do that. But what I want you to see is this, that God's pathway is always the best pathway. His pathway begins with focusing on Him as the sovereign ruler of this universe. And once I settle that issue, I've settled a lot of things. A second thing is this, and that is if I'm going to walk the pathway of faith, I've got to face some moments and doubts and fears in my life, just like everybody else does.

There are those things that come along. And when I do, if I'm going to walk in faith, I need to face the following questions. If I'm going to walk in faith, I need to ask myself these questions.

Don't just jump, oh my goodness, what's going to happen, oh Lord. So, let's start with the first one. I need to ask myself the question, where are these doubts coming from? If I'm doubting God and I'm fearful, ask myself the question, where is this coming from? We know it didn't come from God because He says He's not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

We can walk righteously before Him. So, where are these doubts coming from? The second question I want to ask myself is this, has God ever failed me in the past? Has He ever failed me in the past? Here I'm facing this situation and things look a little gloomy and a little dim, and has He failed me in the past?

No, so I have to deal with that. Third question is, does He not promise to meet all my needs? Yes, He does. Does He keep His promises? Yes, He does.

What does He say? He says, He'll supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory and in Christ Jesus. He's never exhaustible. He is inexhaustible.

I don't have to be concerned about that. Does He not promise to meet all my needs? And if you go back through the things that Jesus said, so much of what He said, of reassuring us that He's there to meet our needs no matter what they may be, Apostle Paul the same way.

Look in the Old Testament how God used His saints. So, does He promise to meet all my needs? Yes, He does. Next question, and that is did He not give me the Holy Spirit to enable me to do whatever He requires of me?

Yes, He has. When you trusted Him as your personal Savior, came into your life, sealed you as a child of God. And you remember, He's told His disciples before He left, He said, listen, sit down and wait in the city of Jerusalem until you be endued with power from on high because the job I have for you, you cannot do it in the flesh.

You cannot do it in your own strength. Wait and I will supply the Holy Spirit who will be in you, with you, and upon you forever. You have the same Holy Spirit living in you. You have the same right to claim for yourself the promise and the power and the provision and the guidance and the direction of the Holy Spirit as those New Testament saints did.

That's who we are. The walk of faith is not a walk of fear and faith, it's a walk of faith and confidence in Him. The next question, and that is did He not promise to be with me at all times?

Absolutely. In difficulty, hardship, pain, suffering, loss, gain, you name it, He made a promise. Then if I'm tempted to be fearful, I have to ask myself these questions. Did He not promise to be with me at all times?

Yes, He is. So, for example, let's go back to your job for a moment since a lot of folks are looking for one. And you are afraid to go in, maybe this is a big cooperation, maybe some big shot's going to talk to you and maybe you've never been interviewed before or they have this big title and you just walk in there a little bit, oh, my goodness, Lord, help me.

Well, listen to this. When you walk in there, you walk in there remembering this. I'm not walking in here by myself. Jesus and I are going to meet this guy.

Jesus and I are going in here. He said, I will never leave you nor forsake you, no matter what. You say, well, that's just talking about witnessing.

No, it's not. He says, I will never forsake you, no, never forsake you. Then that means that when He says, I'll be with you to the end of this age, talking to His disciples.

The truth is, He's going to be with us and listen, through the time He carries us home to be with Himself, because that's His promise. So, whatever situation you're facing, remember this, you can't face it alone. That's why when you trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you can't ever be alone again.

You cannot be. You can be lonely, but you can't be alone because He's promised to be within you. Next question, is anything too hard for God?

Well, see, my fears are just dwindling away as I ask these questions. Anything too hard for God? What's the answer to that?

No. Right. There's nothing too hard for God. You see, we have to be expressive in what we feel. In other words, if you really trust Him, say, I'm trusting you, God, not, well, Father, I hope He'll help me through this. No, that's not trust. We have a right to be bold, not arrogant, not egotistical, not prideful, but bold.

Bold means courageous to face in every circumstance. And if all these questions have the right answer to them, which we would as believers, then what in the world am I afraid of? Next question. Is this one of those forks in the road in which my unbelief could cost me a lifetime of regret? Well, so I want to be very careful at this fork in the road. We all meet those forks in the road where we have choices to make to either be obedient to God or disobedient, whatever it might be.

But think about those questions. Now listen, when you're tempted to fear, pull that out and read it. This is why you should write down these things and some of them you should put in the back of your Bible or put them on something that you won't lose them. Now, if I were facing some kind of fear, I'd write that on three-by-five card, lay it by my table at night, and I'd go over it right before I went to sleep. And I'll tell you that oftentimes, something that you want to remember, something that you want to start believing to be true about God and your relationship to Him, write it down and the last thing you do before you go to sleep, read it. You say, well, what's that got to do with it?

Something very powerful. When you read it, you turn it over and you go to sleep, your subconscious mind already has it and it's going to work all night long. You know why? Because your conscious mind is out of the way. You see, if my subconscious is working, which is a gift of God and the Holy Spirit works through our subconscious mind, if my conscious mind is working, I'm still struggling with, will this work or will it not? But if I read this, I'm trusting you, God, to do what you said, working all night long.

And you know what happens? While you and I sleep, God is doing something to the way we think. That's why David said, he said, I meditate upon you in the night watches. And he says, God teaches him in the night watches. God works in our life when you and I are asleep, if we will allow Him to do it. Thank you for listening to The Pathway of Faith. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by intouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-25 13:53:04 / 2023-02-25 14:02:34 / 10

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