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2 Common Causes of Flat Faith Straight from the Bible

Flat faith, MarthaFlat, dry faith is not a recent phenomenon or a product of our contemporary culture. This problem plagued mankind long before the children of Israel grumbled in the wilderness. As far back as Genesis we can spot flat faith in the midst of God’s people.

Let’s look at one example from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament. Although there are usually multiple causes that flatten our faith over a period of time, we can spot two common culprits in the lives of Sarah and Martha.

1. Settled for a Casual Acquaintance

Abraham’s wife Sarah believed in God. She even left home with her husband to backpack all over Canaan. But Sarah did not expect God to work and she did not believe He had the power to do what He promised. Both of these “symptoms” resulted from an insufficient knowledge of God.

When Abraham came home with the news that God promised to give him offspring as numerous as the stars, Sarah set about to make it happen with the help of her Egyptian maid servant. Rather than letting God work His plan in His way, she tried to do it for Him in a way that made sense to her.

Years later, when God’s messenger made it clear yet again that God’s plan included Sarah she laughed because it seemed impossible to her. Sarah’s limited knowledge of God limited what she believed about God. Sadly, she lived her faith without any expectation of, or trust in, God’s miraculous activity.

2. Put “Doing” Over “Being”

Martha – our favorite New Testament hostess – suffered from her own consequences of flat faith. Activity replaced a vibrant relationship with her Savior. While her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and soaked up His teaching, Martha busily prepared the guest room and cooked a gourmet meal.

Serving Christ distracted her from enjoying Him (Luke 10:38–42). Martha was too busy “doing” to spend time fostering intimacy with Christ. However, Scripture shows us that Martha’s relationship with Jesus grew. After the death of Martha’s brother Lazarus, she made an incredible declaration of faith in Christ (John 11:27).

Are you flat or pumped?

Fed Up with Flat Faith by Kathy HowardI lived “flat” for almost two decades. Like Martha, sometimes the busyness of faith hindered me from finding the relationship with Jesus I craved. (Read about my “Southern Fried Faith”.) Many times I thought: Since I already do “all the right things,” then this must just be it for me. Some people are just wired to be more spiritual than others. I will just be happy with what I have. Sadly, I was also like Sarah. I did not know God well enough to believe He could—and would—act in my life.

What about you? Do you struggle with finding real passion and purpose in your relationship with Christ? Like Sarah, do you expect too little from God? Perhaps like Martha, you are too busy with the works of faith to foster your relationship with Jesus.

God is the only one who can pump up your flat faith, but you can position yourself to receive what He desires to give you. Here’s one attitude adjustment to make and one action to take that will begin to prepare your heart for God’s work:

  1. Relationship Over Religion – Make fostering your relationship with Jesus your priority. Allow God to guide your service and works as a natural outflow.
  2. Feast on the Word – Diligently read and study the Bible. The best way to expand your understanding of God is through His revealed Word.

Let’s Talk. What are some practical steps you can take in your life to put a relationship with Christ over the activity of religion?

“Fed Up with Flat Faith” gives 5 attitudes and 5 actions that will help you position yourself for God’s miraculous work. Find out more here.

 

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3 Responses to 2 Common Causes of Flat Faith Straight from the Bible

  1. Kari Scare March 18, 2013 at 6:37 am #

    Learning to “just be.” Not always having to “do” something. Simply sitting in God’s presence & letting His Spirit direct my thoughts. Sort of “undoing” the habit of having to be entertained by books, or technology or whatever and replacing it with an increased awareness of His presence.

  2. Kathy March 18, 2013 at 6:44 am #

    Hi Kari, thanks for sharing. You are so right! While technology is wonderful it is so distracting. I am leading a study right now at my church called “Live a Praying Life” by Jennifer Kennedy Dean. This week she talks about practicing “silence & solitude.” I am a “doer” by nature and so I have to really work at this. To simply be still and listen to God.

    • Kari Scare March 18, 2013 at 7:50 am #

      I think our culture cultivates a people of “doing.” Even our down time is spent doing something. Rarely do we just sit and enjoy His peaceful presence. I think it’s a matter of choosing to live counter-culturally.

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