What can shut down your faith?

Episode 32

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Hosted by
Carl Joseph

Carl is a biblical scholar, minister, husband, father and life coach. In his mid-twenties he had a powerful encounter with God and saw miraculous healings as a result. He passionately shares these stories and empowers others to fulfill their God-given potential.

If ‘faith works by love’ (Gal 5:6), then obviously to operate in great faith, we mustn’t compromise our love walk. Love is the foundation of Christendom. Consider Faith to be love’s twin. Faith has been described as the ‘currency of the kingdom.’ Yet it can waver sometimes in our lives. In some rare instances, our faith can become hindered, crippling our ability to receive from God. This is a serious predicament that requires our utmost attention. Join Carl now as he shares secrets to a strong faith walk and how to avoid pitfalls that may sometimes hamper it…

Here is a complete transcript of the podcast…(below)

“Throughout his administration, Abraham Lincoln was a president under fire, especially during the scarring years of the Civil War. And though he knew he would make errors in office no doubt, he resolved never to compromise his integrity. So strong was his resolve that he once said, “I desire to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be deep down inside of me.” In the end, we all have to live with a clear conscience and avoid doing things that might wound our conscience. In fact, the only person we will have to give an account to at the end of our lives is Jesus Christ. He is both Savior and judge. We can’t point to our neighbors or friends or colleagues and say, “they made me do it”, no friend we are each accountable for our own actions and will have to give an account for what we did with the Gospel of Christ at the Bema Seat of Christ. Friend, Abraham Lincoln knew the power of a pure conscience and not being swayed by popularity. Let me ask you this question, can the same be said of you?

So how much are you swayed by others, opinions and influences. Are you overtly concerned about the opinions of others and what people might think about you? Or are you focusing on God’s plan for your life, no matter what others might think or how things might look from everyone else’s perspective. Are you going to be like old Abe, choosing truth over popularity? By choosing to live by the truth, we will stay true to our conscience, if we do so, we will live a fulfilling and content life, free of condemnation. But what does all of this have to do with our faith?… The fact is, the current state of our conscience affects our faith. We have to live with our conscience and this leads me to my message today, entitled, “What can shut down your faith?” well here’s how you can avoid it being shut down, “walk in love to your fellow man, obey your conscience and nothing will shut down your faith….I will say it again, …..”walk in love with all men, obey your conscience and your faith will work each and every time.

In Miriam Webster’s Dictionary, the conscience is defined as, “conformity to what one considers to be correct, right or morally good, “and that which is ‘right’ is defined by God’s word, not us. I want you to know friend that your conscience is a Gift from God and scripture makes this plain, Romans 2:15, “Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness”. The conscience, which is God’s gift to man, always bears witness to what is right according to His word. Man may think that he evolved, but man’s conscience is an anchor that holds us in God’s safe waters. The conscience guards us, it holds us in a safe place, and keeps us under the hedge of God’s protection. In 1 Corinthians 8:7 it talks about the conscience being wounded each time we bow down to idols or perform immoral acts. If we obey idols of money, sex, achievement, porn, etc. each time we reverence an idol above God, our heart becomes wounded. Also, 1 Cor 8:12 talks of “wounding of the conscience that comes when we sin against the brethren” and the brethren always refers to other Christians in scripture. When we are offended or offend others, there is a grieving that comes from the Holy Spirit and our conscience is wounded also. Unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment can wound the conscience and affect our faith if they go unresolved. Let go of them today friend.

Now what exactly is a conscience? The Apostle Paul said in Acts 23:1” that he had lived in all good conscience before God.” It was one of the secrets to His success as an apostle. Friend every time we don’t obey our conscience, we wound our spirit. Each time we disobey God, or do something we know is wrong, it etches away at our spirit and more and more wounding can occur. Friend, there is nothing that so takes the joy out of life like more than unconfessed sin on our conscience, Sidney J. Harris said, “Once, we relieve our conscience by calling something a “necessary evil,” it begins to look more and more necessary and less and less evil.”

In Acts 24:16 Paul addresses Governor Felix, and states “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to offence toward God, and toward men”. Notice that Paul’s reference for a clean conscience was towards God and man because it works both ways. The Apostle John also writes about the importance of the heart condition, “Beloved, if our hearts condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” – 1 John 3:20-24.

Friend we cannot have confidence or faith to receive from God if our hearts condemn us. Condemnation is related to accusation. We feel condemned by Satan’s accusations against us; he is merely doing his job as the accuser of the brethren. There is a vast difference between condemnation and conviction, so much so that I’ve written an article on this topic on our website which you might want to check out; later but the bottom line is this, conviction is for the purposes of correction and is from God, but condemnation is from Satan and has a judgmental connotation to it. “We need to let go of the sin that so easily besets us and the weight that accompanies it,” Heb 12:1. Some of you out there are trying to figure out why the heavens have become like brass to you, and this is the reason, your heart is condemning you because of offence. Your heart is not right and you’re not sure whether God is hearing you or not. You’re not confident He will answer your prayers. It’s time to repent and let your conscience be renewed and refreshed. The very fact that you feel conviction is a good sign because this is evidence, your conscience is not seared. You’re still receptive to God’s promptings and you can still feel His conviction. Friend, the Father is always waiting with open arms and desires to fellowship with you once more, he can’t wait for you to run into His arms. Satan is the one who says, “You’ve gone too far this time, he won’t forgive you anymore”, but friend, we know that when Jesus told Peter to forgive 70 x 7 in one day, we know the Father wouldn’t ask us to do something he wouldn’t do himself. Our Father God is a forgiving God!

Interestingly in the ministry of Jesus, it reveals that under the old covenant, the conscience was an important factor, and in the story of the woman taken in adultery, the Pharisees wanted to trick Jesus into condemning her according to the law, but Jesus responded by saying, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” (v7)….you know the story.  But it says in john 8:9, “And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.” Did you notice that my friend, it was their own conscience that convicted them, why? Because the law of God was written in their hearts, and we know right from wrong even without the word of God. Remember two things are bestowed to us that bear witness to God mutually exclusive of the Bible: 1) the creation (Rom 1:19) and 2) the conscience (Rom 2:15).

Many have shipwrecked their faith because they didn’t heed their own conscience….you don’t believe me… Let’s read 1 Timothy 1:19 together –“Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:” Friend, a shipwreck is a total disaster and leads to destruction of the ship and perhaps the death of its occupants. There may be some salvage involved after a shipwreck, but this is a circumstance, we never want to be in. Friend, faith is gained progressively, it is gained in degrees. Faith increases inch by inch, degree by degree, by hearing and hearing God’s word…. Fear also works the same way. If faith comes by hearing the word of God, then fear comes by hearing the words of the devil and both come progressively. Be mindful of what you are meditating upon. We can learn a lot from the Bible just by looking at the reciprocal of key verses or by ‘inference’. We can learn as much by what the bible doesn’t say by as much as it does say. This is interpretation by inference. As we walk in Satan’s path and meditate on his lies, we will smear our conscience and our faith will dissipate. Satan is the father of lies. Don’t believe the lies, the lies about yourself and what you think others think about you.

In the book of Titus, it talks about our consciences being defiled and in 1 Timothy 4:2 it talks of searing the conscience. A seared conscience didn’t start out that way, it was sensitive at first and receptive to God in its original state but once it became wounded, it gradually became callous. There’s an old saying, “hurting people hurt people”. In their wounded state they’re unable to heal themselves and their means of relief is to wound other people, which in turn is an attempt to make themselves feel better. This friend is a vicious cycle that only Jesus can break. Doesn’t the Bible say that Jesus came to heal the broken-hearted (Luke 4:18)? Friend, it’s time to admit that there can be wounding in our lives that we need to let go of some stuff. Once a conscience is seared and beyond the point of care, particularly for our fellow man, it’s embarking upon a road to reprobation. A reprobate mind has cast off all moral restraints and no longer cares for the things of God, morality or spiritual matters. It gives no thought for that which is good. This is a severe warning to us and never a place where we want to be.

1 Timothy 3:9, “Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.” This is the mystery of faith friend; it is holding a pure conscience. Only Jesus has the power to purge your conscience of its current condition of condemnation. Check out this scripture in Hebrews 9:14How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” the context here is about other sacrifices no longer being valid under the new covenant for atonement, they are dead. Jesus is the once and for all sacrifice. Yet after we have received Jesus, our conscience is cleansed, but it’s possible to become embroiled in sin once more and thank God for 1 Jn 1:9, amen, thank God we can become forgiven once more. His mercy endures forever, He is a merciful God.

Today friend we have learned the importance of keeping a pure conscience and this is crucial to our faith walk and the Apostle Paul calls it the mystery of our faith. Right now, I’d like to enter into a time of prayer and just ask the Lord, some of us need a good conscience cleaning. Right now, friend, if there is something nagging you, let’s release it. “Father, I thank you right now I am in agreement that my friend is releasing the issue that is on his or her heart. They are confessing their sin and thank God you are cleansing them from all unrighteousness right now. Lord, I thank you, their conscience is clean, they are washed like new as white as snow. In Jesus name I pray…Amen.” Ask Him in your quiet time about where you might have compromised your conscience and He will show you.”

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Episode 32