Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Walking with Imperfect Faith

Mark 9:21-24 - to paraphrase the father:
1. I do believe! (else, why would I be here?)
2. I know my faith is imperfect. ("if you can help")
3. I ask for help... with my unbelief..... in spite of my unbelief....

Question: Can you relate???


#1. Imperfect faith is universal among believers.
Examples: Abraham, Moses, Job, David, Elijah, Jeremiah, Jonah, John the Baptist, Peter
There are a lot of people who believe that there are Christians who do not struggle with belief. That is not true. We all struggle with imperfect faith.

#2. Imperfect faith is inevitable among believers.
The only way to not experience imperfect faith is to have PERFECT FAITH!
Perfect faith is almost an oxymoron. Faith must be imperfect to be "faith". Faith requires that we walk without the benefit of the five senses.

Heb. 11:1 2 Cor. 5:7

Faith is being confident in what we can't see.

#3. Imperfect faith is unique to believers.
A. Non-believer can't have imperfect faith, because he doesn't have the faith!!
B. Imperfect faith is found only among those who desire to believe and make an effort believe.... and come up short!!!
C. Imperfect faith shouldn't lead to doubting the reality of your faith. It is evidence that you are a believer. Unbelievers don't struggle with this.

So...... when faced with the realization/experience of imperfect faith, what should you do?

1. Confess

2. Affirm

3. Move on

#1. Confess your doubts. (fears, imperfections, shortcomings, etc.)
Psalm 88:14-18
This means:
A. being honest
B. directing your complaint to the proper source
Example: Job's complaints - showed he suffered from imperfect faith, not the absence of faith!!! He went directly to God.
Example: Jer. 20:7-8

#2. Affirm (re-affirm) your faith. (in God and Christ)
Examples: Psalm 10:1, 16-17, 13:1, 5-6, 74:1, 12 Jer. 20:9 John 6:66-69

#3. Move On (Keep walking and doing what you know you should do!)
Perhaps the greatest expression of faith may be obeying while experiencing imperfect faith!!
Examples: Noah building the Ark, Abraham's offiering Isaac, Jeremiah's preaching for 40 years.

There are additional things you can do: wait for an answer, consult friend, read the Word, revisit the past, gain knowledge, etc.

BUT, confess, affirm, move on - summarizes the right response to imperfect faith!!
We don't know if Jesus' response increased the father's faith, but He graciously helped him in spite of his imperfect faith.

John 13:17

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