Sunday, November 27, 2022

Squandering Our Faith

In the previous entries of this series, we have discussed the meaning of faith, the origin of faith, and the power of faith. In this entry, we will go over the ways that one can squander the gift of faith. The purpose of this essay is not to encourage others to intentionally squander their faith, but to help others understand the things that will prevent them from seeing all that God wants to do.

The word “squander” is a strange one, but I have chosen to use this word for a reason. In my planning for this series, that word came to my head whenever the subject of this essay came up. To squander one’s faith, he must waste his faith, or fail to take advantage of all that his faith offers to him.

Before we get into the main portion of the essay, we must understand something that is incredibly important to not just this essay, but to the life of the Christian in general: the devil is always seeking opportunities to prevent God from working in our lives.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. [Ephesians 6:12, ESV]

It is not secret that the devil “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” [1 Peter 5:8, ESV], so we must pursue Christ and His righteousness on a consistent basis, know His Word, and keep His commandments. We must be alert, ready to respond to the working of the enemy.

With that in mind, let us go over the major things that will prevent one’s faith from being used to its full potential.


When we walk by faith, we are living according to our trust in God, our trust in God’s power, and our trust in God’s infinite knowledge and wisdom. If we try to control our lives, control situations, or to deviate from God’s will in any way, we must not expect to see God work in our lives (at least, not to the extent that He would work otherwise). God’s will may not make sense (it usually does not), but if we knew what God knew, we would understand why His will is what it is. In order to truly walk by faith, we must submit to God. Submission to God includes submission of one’s desires, one’s goals, and all else that he holds dear. As frightening as it may be to surrender to God, we know that God will always provide for us, always take care of us, and will never put us to shame [Psalm 25].

In Genesis 16, we read about the story of Hagar, and how she was sought out by God after she had fled her mistress. The context of this chapter is that Sarai is Abram’s wife, and she is unable to conceive. In verse 2, Sarai tells Abram that she cannot have children, so Abram should lie down with their servant, so that Sarai can have children through the servant. That servant was Hagar, and Abram did what his wife had asked him to do. In verse 4, we read that Hagar, after having conceived, began to look “with contempt on her mistress”, which upsets Sarai greatly, which she makes clear in verse 5. Verse 6 depicts Abram telling Sarai that she may do to Hagar as she pleases, and how Hagar flees after Sarai has “dealt harshly with her”.

As for what the Bible means when it describes Sarai dealing harshly with Hagar, there is room for interpretation. All that we know is that Sarai was harsh with Hagar, Hagar fled, and that Hagar was probably returning to Egypt, as she was an Egyptian. As Hagar was by a spring of water, the Lord found her, and He asked her where she has come from and where she is going. Hagar tells the Lord that she is fleeing from Sarai, her mistress. In response, the Lord tells Hagar to do something that was likely the last thing that she would have ever considered doing:

The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” [Genesis 16:9, ESV]

The Lord does not give Hagar a command without giving her some kind of encouragement. In verse 10, the Lord tells Hagar that He will multiply her offspring “so that they cannot be numbered for multitude”, which gave Hagar great joy. Hagar proclaims that the Lord is “a God of seeing”, and names her child Ishmael (“God hears”).

Hagar had fled her mistress, had been on the road to Shur, and had no intention of going back to her mistress. However, when the Lord met Hagar, He gave her a promise, He gave her a command, and He gave her the faith to do what He had called her to do. In order to receive the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise, Hagar needed to submit to the will of God.

If God reveals part of His will for us, we must allow God to take full control of our lives, we must allow Him to work in us, and we must allow Him to work through us.

In addition to submitting to God’s will, we also bear the responsibility to act when God tells us to act. For example, if Hagar had heard the Lord and disobeyed, she would not have seen the things that God wanted to do in her life. There is a difference between God’s will and God’s plan. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us about how the Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise (that He will return one day), He is being patient with us. God’s will is that none should perish, and He has sent His Son to die for our sins, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish. However, if one rejects the free gift of salvation, he will perish. Regardless of what an individual chooses to do with the free gift of salvation, God’s plan is that His Son shall return to earth one day. God’s plan will happen, but we must strive to do God’s will.

Failure to act upon God’s revealed will will prevent us from seeing the full extent of God’s power in our lives.


There is a big difference between having a repentant heart and being complacent with sin. While we are told to go and “sin no more”, God knows that we are fallen beings, that we will always fall short of God, and that we can never be perfect. We cannot save ourselves from the penalty of sin, which is why Jesus came to die for our sins, so that we may be redeemed, forgiven of our sins, and justified in God's Eyes.

All that to say that it is not unusual to be a Christian and sin. However, the Christian’s response to sin should be to seek God’s forgiveness, to repent, and to go and sin no more. The Christian is called to live his life in a way that honors God. When a Christian falls short, he is called to turn away from his sin, and to seek the righteousness of Christ.

On the other hand, unrepentant sin will prevent one from being able to grow in his relationship with the Father. 1 John 1:6 tells us that those who claim to walk with God, while walking in darkness, are liars who do not practice the truth. 1 John 1:8-10 summarizes the main point of this part.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. [1 John 1:8-10, ESV]

In order to walk with God, in order to discern His Voice, in order to know His will, in order to walk in faith, one must repent of his sin, turn to Christ, and ask for forgiveness. God will forgive those who ask for forgiveness. Repentance is an attitude that we are to have. We sin, we fall short, but we must always seek to turn from our sin, to turn to Christ, and to walk according to His commandments.

If you have some kind of sin in your life that you have been living with, and you need help, you can ask God. God wants us to keep His commandments, so if you struggle to do so, ask God to help you. Pray that God works in your heart, that He guides you, and that He strengthens you. Walking by faith will inevitably involve dealing with temptation, attacks from the enemy, and other difficult things. In order to stand strong in our faith, we must seek God’s guidance and strength on a regular basis.

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” [Matthew 3:2, ESV]


So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. [2 Timothy 2:22, ESV]

By nature, we are sinful and wicked, we desire to act sinfully, and we fall short of God’s commandments. When we accept Christ as Lord and Savior, we are justified through faith. As we pursue Christ and His righteousness, we are sanctified by the Holy Spirit. It is through the process of sanctification that we are able to resist the desires of the flesh. In Galatians 5, Paul writes that when we “walk by the Spirit” we will not “gratify the desires of the flesh”. In order for us to walk in the Spirit, we must surrender ourselves to God, receive the gift of salvation, and allow God to work in and through us. We must develop the habit of spending time with God every day, and we must live according to God’s Word. As we continue to seek the Lord, as we continue to walk in the Spirit, we will see fewer works of the flesh, as we see more of the fruit of the Spirit.

In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul describes the works of the flesh, including sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and “things like these”. The phrase “things like” is what makes this passage applicable to sinful desires in general. The works of the flesh are produced by the desires of the flesh, which are desires that are against the Spirit [Galatians 5:17]. If we continue to have the desires of the flesh, we will be unable to have the desires of the Spirit. If we cannot have the desires of the Spirit, we will not see the fruit of the Spirit. If we have the desires of the flesh, we will see the works of the flesh, and “those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God”.

As previously stated, we are all sinful, we are all wicked, and none of us can save ourselves. Through the gift of salvation (through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ), we are able to have eternal life. In the same way that we are unable to save ourselves, we are unable to resist the desires of the flesh. However, through the working of the power of the Holy Spirit, we can resist the desires of the flesh.

While we can never be perfect, we should strive to be perfect, as our Father is perfect. In order to pursue Christ and His perfection, we must resist our natural desires, lest they lead us away from the Father. The desires of the flesh include physical desires, emotional desires, and spiritual desires. The desires of the flesh include all areas of life, so we must seek the desires of the Spirit in all areas of our life. If we do not resist our sinful desires, we cannot know the desires of God.


And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. [Galatians 6:9, ESV]

Part of submitting to God’s will is that we must also submit to God’s timing. God’s timing is perfect, and God knows best. The hardest part of walking in faith (for me, at least) is waiting for God. When God gives somebody a desire, that desire is incredibly powerful. That desire will not lose its appeal, it will not come and go, it will not be something that is on the mind for a moment, only to be missing the next.

In the words of Charles Spurgeon, when one receives a calling from the Lord, “is it an intense, all absorbing desire for the work.” He also describes the way it feels to have been called by God as “an irresistible, overwhelming craving, and [a] raging thirst”. Spurgeon was describing the way it feels to be called to preach the Word of God, but I believe that his description of feeling God’s calling applies to more than just preaching. I heard that quotation when I was listening to a lecture about expository preaching, and that quotation has stuck with me since. As soon as I heard it, I knew that what I had been feeling had been the same feeling that I have heard other Christians describe, and that really encouraged me.

Similarly to the way the Lord found Hagar, one does not choose to go into ministry, rather, he is selected by God. God calls us, we do not call ourselves. It is because of this “raging thirst” that patience becomes such a difficult part of walking in faith. When God calls somebody to do something, the person knows that the desire to do whatever it is that he has been called to do is a desire that is entirely different to anything he has felt before.

In times of waiting, we must pray for God to help us. We must regularly ask God to give us patience, to give us His peace, and to help us trust Him during our season of waiting on Him. If you have been called to become a preacher, sure, God could drop you in front of a pulpit, in front of a congregation that He has brought to the church that He has just brought into existence. However, unless God says otherwise, we should not seek to escape our current situation before God guides us out of it. I have found that the best way of waiting for God is to focus on what He has done, what He is doing, and glorifying His Name. Ask God to give you patience, trust in Him, and allow Him to work in your heart, and in your life. Through your season of waiting on God, you will be strengthened in your faith, you will be prepared for what God has for you, and He will prepare that which you will receive some day.

Wait on the Lord.


It can be very difficult to forgive others, especially when they have hurt us recently, or when they have hurt us in a very severe way. However, we are called to forgive others, to pursue peace, and to turn the other cheek. We are not called to defend our name, to stand up for ourselves, or to fight for what we desire, we are called to be merciful, to be forgiving, and to put others above ourselves. If we do not forgive others, we will not be able to see all that God wants to do in our lives. In Mark 11, Jesus tells Peter,

“...whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” [Mark 11:25, ESV]

As we have previously discussed, one of the ways we can squander the gift of faith that we have received is by failing to repent from our sins. If we wish to repent, we must ask for forgiveness, and if we want to receive forgiveness, we must forgive others.

In my experience, there are many things that are hard to forgive somebody for. However, whenever I have needed to forgive somebody, all I needed to do was ask God to help me forgive the person in question. God has always answered my prayers for help in forgiving somebody, and His answer came very quickly. Some of the hardest things to forgive became incredibly easy when I prayed and asked God for help. If you are struggling to forgive others, go somewhere where you can be alone with God, pray, and ask God to help you. Tell God exactly what you are struggling with, tell Him how you feel, and trust that He hears you, He loves you, and He answers prayers.


Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. [1 John 2:9-11, ESV]

Nothing will prevent the joy of the Lord from filling your heart quite like having a heart filled with hatred for others. James 3:11-12 describes exactly why we cannot have hatred in our hearts if we want to receive all that God promises to those who love Him:

Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salad pond yield fresh water. [James 3:11-12, ESV]

1 Corinthians 13 is all about the necessity of love, how love is pure, how love is everlasting, and how love is more important than faith and hope. If you have ever been to a wedding, you have almost certainly had this chapter read to you (I read this chapter for somebody’s wedding, if I am not mistaken). The word “love” is translated from the Greek word “agape” (ἀγάπη), which is where the term “agape love” comes from. Agape love is a type of love that is entirely selfless, humble, forgiving, and everlasting.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. [1 Corinthians 13:7, ESV]

If you hold hatred in your heart, it will be impossible for you to take full advantage of your faith. God is love, He does everything in love, He sent His Son to die for us because He loves us, He loves when we are close to Him, and He loves us in general. God corrects us in love, restores us in love, and tells us to love others more than we love ourselves. If God loves us unconditionally, who are we to deny others love?

My friends, if you have any hatred in your heart, pray for God to help you. Ask God to remove the hatred from your heart, pray that He gives you a heart that is filled with love, and when He gives you that heart of love, share that love with others. Never cease doing good, never cease showing love and kindness to others, and give glory to God always.


When God gives us the gift of faith, when we are walking in that faith, when we are pursuing God’s will for our life, we must seek His counsel on every decision. There is a story from the book of Joshua that has always stuck with me, and it is perfect for explaining why we must seek God’s counsel on everything. In Joshua 9, the Gibeonites (those who lived in Gibeon) heard about how Joshua had led the Israelites to victory over Jericho and Ai, the Gibeonites devised a plan to trick the Israelites into forming a covenant, which would prevent the Israelites from attacking the Gibeonites. Throughout the book of Joshua, one reads about how God will give nations into the hands of the Israelites, how God will deliver the Israelites from trouble, how God will provide for the Israelites, and so on. The Old Testament describes many instances where God tells His people that He has gone before them, that He fought for them, and that His people will be victorious over their enemies. The only thing that the Israelites must do is follow God, trust Him, and allow God to go before them.

When the Gibeonites approached the men of Israel, the Gibeonites pretended to be people from a distant nation. The trick was that the Gibeonites were not from a distant nation. The Gibeonites were understandably concerned about the idea of the Israelites conquering them, so the Gibeonites pretended to be from a nation that was far away, that would not have mattered to the Israelites, and would not pose a threat to them either. The Gibeonites said that they had heard of what God had been doing, and that they wanted to make a covenant with the people of Israel. The Gibeonites had brought with them provisions, in order to create a friendship with the people of Israel.

The Israelites were God’s chosen people, and all that Israel had had been given to them by God, for the purposes of God. God did not give the Israelites victory over other nations so that the Israelites could enjoy wealth and fame throughout the region, He gave them victory to bring glory to Himself, and to accomplish that which He had planned. The Israelites served as stewards of God’s gifts, rather than being the owner whatever God gave to them. A home-owner owns the home, but a steward manages the home and that which is contained therein. The Israelites were to steward the gifts of God, using them in accordance to God’s will, and obeying the commands of God. Instead, the Israelites abrogated their responsibilities as stewards of the gifts of God by choosing to make a decision without consulting Him.

So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the Lord,... [Joshua 9:14, ESV]

Due to the Israelites acting impulsively, rather than taking the time to ask God for direction, the Israelites ended up forming a covenant with one of the nearby nations, which prevented the Israelites from being able to conquer the Gibeonites. Had the Israelites asked God before taking action, the Gibeonites would have been unsuccessful in deceiving the people of God.

The problem with impulsivity is that we do not know all that we need to know in order to make the best decision. When we walk by faith, according to the revealed will of God, we are not seeking something good, we are seeking what is best. We are not seeking what is best according to our will, but according to God’s will. When God gives us faith, He gives us a gift. It is our job to be good stewards of that gift, to use that gift to accomplish the intended purposes of God, and to wait for God’s guidance. God knows all, and He has the perfect plan. When we take action without consulting Him, we are essentially telling God that we know better than He does, and that we are able to make decisions for ourselves. God honors us when we honor Him. If we dishonor God by rejecting His will for our lives, how could we expect God to honor us? It is through submission to the will of God that we are able to see all that God desires to do in and through us.

When confronted with a decision, we must remember to stop, ask God for guidance, and allow Him to lead us. When God gives one the gift of faith, He has something planned for him, and all that he must do to receive that which God has prepared is to allow God to take the lead. When we act impulsively, we act foolishly. When we go our own way, we go the wrong way. When we seek God, we see Him accomplish His perfect will for our lives.

1 comment:

  1. Well thought out. Well said. Certainly an examination of the heart of the one who reads this.


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