Christian Living

Spiritual Life

4 Habits That Will Shipwreck Your Faith

Would you say your faith is on a steady course? Or, could you be in danger of shipwreck?

Scripture warns us of the possibility of being shipwrecked – getting so far off course that we find ourselves beaten by the winds of the world and going down, spiritually. The Apostle Paul instructed Timothy to “fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience” so that he wouldn’t “shipwreck” his faith (1 Timothy 1:18-19).

I believe certain habits can slowly divert our course to the point where we are in dangerous waters, quickly going down, and eventually stranded on an island, isolated from our brothers and sisters in the faith who were once there to help us stand strong. 

Here are four habits to steer clear of so you don’t find your faith shipwrecked:

  1. Loving the World. It starts so innocently. We never intend to desire the things of the world more than the things of God. But before we know it, we have made idols of the objects of our desires and our faith pays the price. Scripture warns us: “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). The world will vie for your love and affection. Be wary of loving anything in this world more than Jesus. When something else captures your heart, it will eventually destroy your faith.  
  2. Neglecting God’s Word. One of the easiest ways to become attached to the world and to pursue the temporary, rather than the eternal is to neglect God’s Word. If we aren’t constantly pouring God’s Word and principles into our hearts and minds, we will be stained by the perceptions and priorities of the world in which we live. In His parable of the sower, Jesus warned of “the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22). Reading and understanding Scripture strengthens our faith in the God we sometimes struggle to understand. Don’t neglect God’s Word.
  3. Trusting Your Feelings. While we should be discerning of the Holy Spirit’s direction and aware of His conviction on our hearts, we can never put our feelings over the facts of Who God is and what His Word says. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure….” Our feelings can mislead us by making us think God has abandoned us, when the facts of His Word say He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Our feelings might tell us God is angry with us and will not give us another chance, but the facts of His Word tell us “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Base your faith not on your feelings, but on the facts of Who God is and What He says in His Word. Your feelings constantly fluctuate but the facts about God (that are found in His Word) never change.  
  4. Relying on Self. We live in a world that praises self-reliance. But Jesus never did. He stressed God-reliance, which takes faith. When we rely on God, our achievements, and successes are no longer about us and our abilities. If they were, we’d have only ourselves to thank. Are you trusting in your abilities to “wow” people when it comes to that job interview? Are you depending on your own strength or wisdom when it comes to a crucial decision? No longer relying on yourself propels your faith forward in ways you can’t imagine. However, to remain “self-sufficient” is to remain “faith-inefficient.” 

If you struggle with any (or all) of the habits above, you don’t have to stay stuck in that rut. If you are in Christ you are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), capable of developing new habits that build, rather than destroy your faith. Recommit your heart to Him and trust Him as He allows circumstances to come your way that stretch and strengthen your faith.

Adapted from When God Sees Your Tears by Cindi McMenamin, used with permission.

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