"Are you so weak your faith couldn't stand up?"
I've heard this launched at Christians who don't want to be involved in something because of moral violations. It can be best
summed up as "peer pressure". This argument is given to justify more involvement in the world than is biblically sound.
There are two examples I can name right off where this applies.
The first is in the area of education. In a classroom, where
teachers are teaching anti-Christian propaganda, they may attack the inspiration of the Scripture or the reality of Christ's
coming and His resurrection. If you refuse to attend such a class, the accusation, "Are you so weak your faith couldn't stand up?"
is found to push you into what your conscience condemns.
The second example is in the area of entertainment. The attack is launched to accuse you of weakness, if you refuse to watch
a program because of its anti-Christian content. This is "peer pressure", to violate your conscience, and is trying to shame
you. Should you be ashamed? Is there any truth in the accusation, "You're a weakling baby, if you stand in refusal of this!"?
What does this accusation attack?
First, notice it aims directly at pride. A good tweaking point the devil can usually get us
to respond to. That is the big power in the peer pressure tactic. They try to make you look shameful if you refuse to do that
which something inside screams against.
Secondly, we see this accusation attacks our declaration of faith. This is a powerful stroke. If the devil can get you to think
that following your conscience is a denial of your faith's strength, he's got the upper hand.
Don't think the devil won't come with scriptures to his aid. He used scriptures to tempt Jesus in the wilderness. Of course, his
usage was cleverly twisted, but those not well versed in the Scripture can easily be thrown by such usage. For an example in this
case, we may hear the devil use:
"I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me." Philipians 4:13
Now, what to do? Does this verse teach I can head into any situation brazenly with absolute confidence? For sure, this is a
fighting verse. Warfare has more than one possible tac to consider, which we must look at now.
The following is a list of scriptural examples that fall into two categories. The first is fleeing, the second is resisting:
A. Flee fornication
"Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own
body. 1 Corinthians 6:18
B. Flee love of money
"But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness."
1 Timothy 6:11 - Note verses 6-10
C. Flee youthful lusts
"Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
2 Timothy 2:22
We can see from this sampling of verses, that having Christ's strength doesn't mean we are to walk brazenly into any situation
with absolute confidence. The devil's use of the verse in Philippians is done with the hope you won't be aware of the principles of spiritual warfare. If you remain ignorant of these, he can topple you, and leave you wondering where that invincible strength you were promised went. That is, if you ever recover. You may just be lured into the world, and totally forget the things of God.
D. The devil
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7
E. The devil
"Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are acomplished in your brethren that are in the world."
1 Peter 5:9
F. The world, the devil
"Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin." Hebrews 12:4* - Note verses 1-3
The resisting side definitely looks less varied than the fleeing side. In the context of the first verse, humility versus pride
is the issue attached to resisting. Humble yourselves, in turning from the sins of the world, then God will strengthen you to stand
against the temptations of the devil to return to worldly life. Where we see "resist" in the second and third references, we see
resisting persecution. The context of the third verse is especially telling in relation to this issue.
#I. Smokescreen For Real Issue
Since the accusation attacks faith, we need to ask ourselves, "What is faith?"
"And he that doubteth is damned is he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin."
Here we're told an important fact about faith. Faith is so important in our walk, you can basically say, "It is our walk." If we don't
walk in faith, we sin. If we do it because someone bullies us, in violation of our conscience, we violate what we believe is right and,
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:17
Since the previous verse showed sin is a violation of what we believe, this verse guides us further. Our faith comes by hearing what we
are to do in our walk with God, as well as the encouragement the Scripture gives us.
These two verses lead us on to the questions of the hour:
What does the Word of God say regarding our confidence and what direct commands are there on this issue?
A. "Thinketh he standeth"
"Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." 1 Corinthians 10:12* - Note previous verses of
B. "Evil communications corrupt"
"Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners." 1 Corinthians 15:33
C. "Should beguile away from Christ"
"In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.
5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your
faith in Christ. 6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished
in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain
deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." Colossians 2:3-8
These passages bear directly on our confidence. The challenge asserted by, "Are you so weak your faith couldn't stand up?" spits in
the face of such verses as the above. If you fall for that devilish challenge, you would have to say to Paul's warning in
1 Corinthians 10:12, that he doesn't know what he's talking about. You know that your faith is strong, so have no worries.
You would have to assume that Paul's faith was weak, since he wrote what he did.
Then you have 1 Corinthians 15:33. Again you would have to assume that Paul was weak. After all, the evil communications wouldn't
affect you, for you are so sure your faith is strong enough. Funny, Paul specifically said, "be not deceived" in this matter. The
reason he would say this is because this is an area where people have a tendency to deceive themselves. His point is exactly, Don't
think yourself so strong that it won't effect you, for you are deceiving yourselves if you do.
In Colossians we have Paul's warning again. Of course, you are going to expect the same sort of message again from the same trembling
man. Looking at this passage, you can see Paul had confidence he was writing to a group of Christians who were well established in the
faith. These were no faith-weaklings, as the passage shows. Still, Paul KNEW they had to be reminded to BEWARE of anti-Christian
A. "Cease to hear"
"Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge." Proverbs 19:27
B. "Avoid profane and vain babbling"
"O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so
called:" 1 Timothy 6:20
C. "Shun, or it will increase"
"But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness." 2 Timothy 2:16
D. "Mark and avoid"
"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned;
and avoid them." Romans 16:17
How much clearer can you get than the first verse listed in Proverbs? It says, "don't listen to it", period.
Paul calls the worthless, anti-Christian teachings, profane and vain babblings. Surely note he says to avoid them. Watching, or
listening to such babblings with confidence in your personal strength, is not avoiding them.
We see Paul increase from "avoiding" to the stronger word, "shun". When you shun someone, it is very clear you stay away from him
or her. If you kept getting together with the person you said you were shunning, would others believe you were really shunning that
With the final verse, we are back to the word, "avoid". Paul makes special mention we're to specifically note deviations from the
straight and narrow. Pay attention, and if it deviates, avoid it.
#II. Our Attitude Should Be...
A. "We are unprofitable servants"
"9 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. 10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have
done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do."
As outlined in the above study [Our Confidence]
C. Opposite of self-righteous/self-confident
Humility should be our first hallmark of character. Instead of abundant self-confidence, we see the servants mentioned in Luke
declaring, "we are unprofitable servants". Was Jesus telling us that we should don a false humility? Most certainly not. He was
telling us to get our attitudes of abundantly great self-worth, out of our heads and hearts.
III. Attitude of the Devil's Advocate
I want to take a quick look at the person who gives the challenge of, "Are you so weak your faith couldn't stand up?" This should
serve as more of an eye opener as to the source of such a challenge.
A sincere challenge wouldn't cast an insult at someone they truly accused of being weak. Love encourages in the way and
pursuit of purity. The challenge taunts, not lovingly encourages. Taunting is the way an enemy is treated.
The accusation in and of itself violates the following two scriptures:
A. "Tender hearted, loving and forgiving"
"31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye
kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
The challenge is in no way kind, or tenderhearted. It in no way encourages to fight the good fight, and increase in the knowledge
of God. It doesn't direct the person it afflicts to take heed to the scriptures listed in this paper, and in so doing, it directs away
from the Word of God.
B. "Comfort feebleminded, support weak"
"14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men."
1 Thessalonians 5:14
The taunt is not an act of warning to an unruly Christian. In fact, the person who would refuse, on grounds of potentially being led
astray, is bearing the utmost concern to not be unruly. The taunt in no way could be construed as an act of comfort to those who are
confused. The taunt, again, is not in any manner a support of a weak brother or sister. Finally, the taunt is not an exercise of
patience towards anyone.
The above two passages help us see the spiritual source of the challenge. This source blatantly violates these scriptural guidelines
in helping other Christians.
"2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time
will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching
ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5 But watch thou in all things, endure
afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry."
2 Timothy 4:2-5
Paul encourages Timothy to be a fighter in the area of longsuffering and doctrine. That means working patiently with the weak, and
scripturally condemning anything that leads from the straight and narrow. The taunt very effectively eludes the scripture and seeks
to victimize the weak. In this we know who to resist.
Have REAL FAITH in what the Word of God says.
When the scripture warns us to beware and take heed, then believe it.
In the attack of pride - humble yourself.
1. Admit weakness of the flesh.
2. Admit the tendency towards corruption.
Be a fierce warrior for Christ, standing on His Word for both guidance and obedience, despising the shame the accuser would cast
Have faith, true faith. Where your obedience seems to block some cherished goal, have faith God makes ways for those who truly
serve Him. If your goal is His will, He takes care of those who obey Him. If it isn't, then you need to release it anyway.
Bearing these thoughts in mind, reverse the question to that challenger,
"Whose faith is really strong enough to stand up?"
Free to Copy under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND3.0 License by Darrell Farkas
All quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible