When I was a Christian, I did some and believed pretty outlandish things in the name of faith. I thought that by doing these things, I would be obedient to "the will and the word of god."
These scriptures played a major role in how I exercised my faith. (All scriptures from King James Version unless otherwise noted)
38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
1 Samuel 15:22-23
22 And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice(emphasis added), and to hearken than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
2 Chronicles 20:15,17, 20
15 And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.(emphasis added)
17 Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you(emphasis added), O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.
20 And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.(emphasis added)
23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart(emphasis added), but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.(emphasis added)
By using these scriptures as models, I would give money, time and resources to the church I belonged to at the expense of my finances and family. I did not want to be rebellious since this act was equated to witchcraft. I simply wanted to be in God's will and obey. If being in God's will meant giving up things and listening to his mouthpiece, then I was willing to do that.
I wanted to have the kind of power where what I spoke would come to pass. I thought by following this prescription, this would happen for me and my family.
One time in church after a sermon, my former pastor asked the congregation to reach into their wallets or purses and pull out money. He said that the people who had enough faith should take out their money, wave it in the air and walk around the church eight times. By doing this the walls that are blocking your finances would fall like the walls of Jericho. I only had 20.00 in my bank account and wrote out a check for that amount because I believed that God would do something miraculous.
My pastor would tell me that "sacrificial giving hurts because it's a sacrifice. By giving in this way, you honor God and he will not forget your obedience." My former pastor was correct because it hurt not only my bank account but it hurt my family because it made providing for them even more difficult.
I am happy that I "walk by sight and not by faith." I live a live based on reason and rationality, no longer depending on useless faith to guide me into rash decisions.