Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering- Hebrews 10:23
Faith barriers hamper God’s plans for our lives. These barriers can be doubt, insecurity, ignorance and fear. Moses was insecure and doubted his ability to do what God called him to do. Job was ignorant of the magnitude of God’s power. Jonah was afraid of failing God. Peter was afraid when he started to sink as he made his way across the water to Jesus and fear made him deny knowing Jesus and fear made the other disciples desert Him. Intolerance made Paul persecute the Christians. Let’s examine each of these spiritual barriers and how the Lord dealt with each of them.
When Moses said to God, “O My Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.” The Lord’s anger kindled against him and He told Moses that his brother Aaron who could speak well would do the talking. “So he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God. And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs.” (Exodus 4:13-17) So, God dealt with Moses’ doubt and insecurity by sending Aaron with him to help him and equipping him with the rod, which would be used to perform miracles. After God assured Moses that he would not have to face Pharaoh alone, he obeyed Him.
When Job was tested, he was confused. He couldn’t understand why these terrible things were happening to him when he had been a righteous man all his life. All that he had was taken away from him and he was covered in sores. His life was in shambles and he wanted to ask God why. “I will say to God, ‘Do not condemn me; Show me why You contend with me.” (Job 10:2)
Later in the scripture, God answered Job. “Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it.” God reminded Job that He is the creator of all things and that everything under Heaven is His. (Job 40:1-34) Job sees God in His true image—God almighty, creator of everything in Heaven and earth. He realised that God can do everything and that nothing is denied Him. Job knew God by what he heard and believed but for the first time in his life he’s really seeing God. His eyes are opened to the majesty of God and he is sorry for the things he had said before. He realised that he had no right to question God or his love for him. Instead, he should focus on God and remember that He is in control.
In the beginning Job blessed God and held fast to his integrity. He accepted the bad things that were happening in his life but his faith soon turned to doubt as he focused on the situation rather than on God and he began to question God. When we concentrate on our troubles instead of concentrating on God, that is when we start to doubt Him and question His love for us. God was there all the time but Job did not feel His presence because he was so caught up in self-pity and despair. He was more focused on the flesh that he neglected the spirit—the Spirit of God who was with him. God dealt with Job by reminding him of whom He is and that no one contends with Him. We should worship Him and praise Him no matter what. Once Job learned this, he was blessed with more than he lost.
Jonah was afraid of failing God but God used him to relay His message to the people of Nineveh when He could have done it Himself. God desires to use people to do His wondrous works through, not only to show the people he is trying to get through to but, also the people he is using what He is capable of. He wanted to show Jonah how merciful He is by sparing the lives of the wicked people of Nineveh when they repented of their sins. He wanted to teach Jonah about tolerance because in those days, the Jews and the Gentiles did not get along. God wanted to demonstrate His love and acceptance of all people.
The disciples forsook Jesus and fled because it was written, “I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered.” (Zechariah 13:7) Peter denied Jesus three times out of fear. But, before this happened, the Lord said to Peter, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” (Luke 22:31-32) Jesus knew that Peter’s faith would be tested and He prayed for him.
Peter was called to minister to the Gentiles. “Behold, three men are seeking you. Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.” He restored Peter’s faith as He promised and sent him to give the Gentiles the same gift as He gave to the Jews. Jesus enabled Peter to strengthen the brethren who glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.” (Acts 11:1-18)
As a result, the disciples spoke to the Greeks, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. When the church in Jerusalem heard about the news, they sent Barnabas as far as Antioch. He encouraged them and a great many people were added to the Lord. Barnabas went back to Tarsus and brought Paul back to Antioch with him. There they taught a great many people and it was there in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians. (Acts 11:19-30)
God used Paul a non-Christian to convert other non-Christians. Paul was there when Stephen was stoned. He consented to his death. Paul wreaked havoc on the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison. Breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, Paul went to the high priest and asked for letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus so that if he found any who were of the Way, men or women, he might take them to Jerusalem. It was on this trip that his life changed forever.
Jesus spoke to him and Paul, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” Jesus replied, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
Paul did as he was told. He received the Holy Spirit and immediately began to preach in the synagogues confounding those who remembered how he used to destroy all the people who preached in Jesus’ name.” (Acts 7:58, 8:1, 3, 9:1-21)
When we obey God or keep our eyes above, our faith is strengthened. Our responsibility as Christians is to trust in God and allow Him to work wondrous things in our lives, use us to fulfil His plans. God uses all sorts of people to work through as outlined in the examples above. No one is immune to God’s power or love. He desires that we obey Him and answer His call. He equips us with everything we need to do His work and He is with us every step of the way. Just as He promised Moses, Peter and Paul that He would be with them, He is with us today. And like Job, we should praise Him in good times and in bad and unlike Jonah, we should not allow prejudice to hinder us.