Step 5: Remove Negative Hindrances to your Faith

A few months ago we started a series talking about our faith walk.  It was titled “Entering Into the Promised Land” in reference to the land that God called Abraham to by faith. Just the same as Abraham, God’s best for each one of us is to walk by faith everywhere we go. 

7 For we walk by faith, not by sight:

2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV

So if we are supposed to walk by faith then there’s the obvious question of how? That’s what this series is all about.  I have been breaking down some of the lives of great men like Moses and Abraham (the father of faith) to see how we can live like they did. 

So without further ado, let’s get into today’s post talking about the negative hindrances that we have to overcome in order to walk by faith. 

Our Text

15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.

Hebrews 11:15

Abraham like our home was comfortable

Ok so then the question is where did Abraham come from.  This verse in Hebrews is telling us that if Abraham had thought about where he had come from he might have wanted to return to it…but why?

As we are about to see, the life that Abraham had before following after God wasn’t exactly amazing.  In fact, it was kind of dysfunctional. But that’s the problem, it was his family and his life with all of his habits that was stealing his ability to fulfill God’s call.  

It wasn’t an amazing, but it was comfortable.  That’s the danger – comfort. 

Following God is never comfortable.  That’s just the truth.  I’m going to make a very bold statement and I don’t want you to get mad at me because it’s stepping on my toes just as much as it is yours.

If you are living life right now and are comfortable with where you are, then chances are you are not 100% sold out to God.  

Abraham’s Home Life

In Genesis 11:27-32 we get a glimpse into the home life of Abram (not yet Abraham). All you have to do is be in a family with more than one brother or sister and you can see what Abram felt in his life. 

Abram’s Father: Terah

His father, Terah, had three sons: Abram, Nahor and Haran.  Now Haran had two children Milcah and Lot described in these verses of Genesis. Terah lived in the Ur of Chaldees.  This verse says “the land of his nativity” means that he lived in the same home town he was born in.  He wasn’t moving anywhere.

Then Haran died.  Now there’s some debate on how he died.  Some say that he died in conflict with his father Terah (see http://www.scielo.org.za/pdf/ote/v23n3/16.pdf) others say he died in the presence of his father only.  The only thing we know for sure is that the death of Haran affected Terah.  Wouldn’t it affect you?  A father is supposed to die before his son.  That’s just the way of things. 

This man was broken and moved to a city with the same name as his son – Haran.  He went to the land of Canaan but only got as far as the city named after his dead son.  He couldn’t move past the tragedy in his life, and got caught up worshipping other things other than God. 

This happens to so many people.  They have a tragedy in their life and instead of pressing into God and pushing through the pain they lay down underneath the problem and die.

Terah died there in Haran having never entered into any promised land.  In fact his name literally means wanderer (see https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Terah.html ).

Abram’s Wife: Sarai

We can see the same tension in Abram’s wife Sarai.  Remember back in these days your ability to have children was everything because the culture measured their wealth based upon the number of children they had.  So for Sarai to be barren was a huge slap in the face.  

Abram’s Nephew: Lot

After the death of Haran, you can see the culture take effect as Abram takes Lot under his wing like his own son and Nahor takes Milcah Haran’s daughter to be his wife (Genesis 11:29).  In today’s culture that’s weird to us but for them it was a way to protect them and take care of them.  So Lot wasn’t just the son of his brother, Lot really became like a son to Abram too.

Get thee out…

So this is the scene as we enter Genesis 12:1 and God says…

Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

Genesis 12:1 KJV

We can see from this verse that God is calling Abram away from three specifici things that were acting as hindrances to Abram’s walk of faith.  

God called him out of his country, kindred, and father’s house. 

Leave your country (habits and lifestyle)

God told Abram to get out of his country.  He wanted him to get out of where he lived.  Why?  Because where he lived was a representation of how he lived.  What I mean is that your country is your job, house, habits and lifestyle. It’s not simply your geographic location on the planet.

You will never follow God completely when your life makes no room for Him.  That’s the thing.  Everything around Abram was non conducive to hearing God’s voice.  

His father was bitter.  He worshipped idols and even made them (Joshua 24:2).  In that environment of idol worship, how could you ever hear God’s voice clearly and live a life for Him?

Abram’s surroundings might be like some of ours.  Our habits don’t put God first, second or even third.  We surround ourselves with things that we put before him – idols.  Maybe not a physical statue, but we worship it nonetheless. We give it our time, money, energy and efforts that sounds like worship to me!

Leave your kindred (friends)

Proverbs tells us that we are supposed to watch those people that we surround ourselves with.  Bad morals corrupt good character.  It’s as plain as that.  We want to go on with God and start living for Him, but we want all of our friends to stay the same too.

The problem is that it just won’t happen.  You can’t drag your friends into a relationship with God.  Maybe they DO have a relationship with God, but they don’t want to go as far as you do.  

You have to be careful how much of a voice you allow them to have in your life and in your decisions.  This is what God was saying. If you keep your kindred friends around you, you’re going to be tempted to stay comfortable with where you are.

Leave your father’s house (family)

Yes this is hard.  It sounds intense, but think even of what Jesus said in Matthew 12:46-50. 

While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.

Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.

But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?

And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!

For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

Matthew 12:46-50 KJV

God will give you a new church family to replace those who won’t join you.  That doesn’t mean you give up on them.  It doesn’t mean you reject them.  You still love them, but you just can’t allow them to pull you away from God’s call. 

It’s a sad truth that oftentimes the devil will use those closest to us to stir up strife trying to keep us out of the love of God and joy that comes by walking IN HIM. 

Take the first step

I know it sounds intense.  It is.  That’s what it takes to walk by faith.  You aren’t going to know where you’re going by just the first step.  God is telling you and me that we have to leave those who are constantly speaking negativity and doubt into our hearts, and that He will take us to a land that I will show you.

Remember faith comes by hearing. So if you’re always hearing negative words then your faith is growing…in the negative. 

Our tendency is to think that we can help them by being around them, but the truth is that if they haven’t changed of their own desire then they really haven’t changed. 

The only thing we can actually do for them is pray for them, and we can do that without having to hang out with them and allow them to spew negativity. 

It’s like my pastor used to always say, “These are my ears not handles on a garbage can.” 

Watch what you allow to speak into your life because it will come back out of you later in the form of a problem.  I wrote a whole post about guarding your heart because it is really that important. See The Human Spirit must be Protected