When the wife told her husband about a new invention she had heard about, he laughed and scoffed: “Sometimes I really wonder about you. You are so ignorant and believe just about anything. What you’re saying there can never happen.” Her eyes were sad as she answered him in soft tones, “But it’s true. I read about it in a magazine, but you never believe me.”
The man shook his head in disgust, grumbled another complaint, and continued reading the sports page of his newspaper.
When people do not believe you and make fun of you, it is hard to bear. There’s almost no offense so hard to bear as being called a liar, for although people would be quick to say they don’t mean it, a liar is inherently what people call you when they don’t believe you.
How does that apply to God and faith in God?
Unbelief in God is, in essence, the same as calling Him a liar. The Apostle John agrees. He said: Whoever does not believe God, has made him out to be a liar.”
Unbelief is saying that God doesn’t really care for us. He did not die for us and he really is not the Shepherd he says he is. Unbelief claims Gods is untrustworthy and his promises are misleading at best.
Or worse, he doesn’t even exist.
It hurts God too. It also explains why the Bible tells us, ‘without faith it is impossible to please God.’ * Unbelief is not a logical state of the mind, but needs to be seen as a spiritual disease that requires healing.
And it does not only affect the unbelieving, cynical world but as Christians, we need to be especially aware of its pitfalls. We too can at times be guilty of unbelief.
When Jesus was on earth and faced unbelief it says, ‘He marveled at their unbelief.’ * No matter how we try to hide our unbelief, it eventually comes out and shows its ugly face.
Imagine someone coming up to you and telling you plain and simple: “You are a nice fellow and I am glad you are around, but really… I don’t believe a word of what you are saying.”
You will most likely not invite that person to your home and have an intimate meal with him.
And that is the point. Intimacy, friendship, and love.
Unbelief makes it virtually impossible to become friends with God. Unbelief, in whatever shape or form, is a formidable obstacle that stops us from getting to know God. Unbelief makes it impossible to have an intimate meal with Him and prevents Jesus from sharing His secrets with us. For that is what Jesus desires. He desires a relationship in the same way that a bride seeks to love the bridegroom.
Therefore unbelief is our enemy and needs to be rooted out.
How do we do it?
Do we jump up and down a thousand times while we chant, ‘I believe?’ Do we visit a new church every Sunday or do we stream every sermon on the internet we can get our hands on? Hardly.
How does one chase away the darkness? It’s simple. By letting the light in.
Only by drawing near to Jesus Himself, and by taking the time to rest under the shadow of His wings will God’s Spirit Himself convince us of the truth and His love for us. Only by hearing His gentle voice directly in the depth of our sinful hearts will unbelief be burned away and will our faith grow.
We don’t have to despair when we spot unbelief in our own hearts. God knows our frame and He remembers that we are but dust (Psalm 103) But we do need to do something about it. We do need to make the effort to let the fire burn away our dross and make us pure and broken in the sight of God once more.
Everything moves on the wheels of faith and God has plenty of faith to give us if we only seek it and ask for it.