For this post, I’m defining the sin of unbelief as doubting what God says and/or doubting His power to accomplish what He says.
In short, unbelief is sin because it calls God a liar. Unbelief is an insult to God’s character.
With that in mind, here are some things I am learning about the sin of unbelief in my own life:
When I doubt my Heavenly Father, I bring Him down to my level. I mistakenly believe that He is like me, created rather than Creator. When I am blinded by the circumstances of a trial, I act as if He cannot see. He is weak, like I am weak. Like me, He is confused and doesn’t know what to do. And, even if He could act, surely He lacks the power to do so.
When I am operating under the sin of unbelief, I see my trial in vivid detail. I note its structure, study its components, and give it my rapt and unending attention. I spend a good amount of energy projecting the consequences of the worst case scenario and its effect on my future. Rather than taking my fears to God, I coddle and feed them. My prayer life withers in direct proportion to the growth of my unbelief. In the end, God simply fades from view.
The sin of unbelief breeds impatience. In my restlessness, I conclude that the Lord just isn’t “making it stop” quickly enough. When this happens, I am often tempted to take matters into my own hands. The sin of unbelief gives birth to temptation and temptation gives birth to sin. Sin begets sin.
Failure to believe God can result in disastrous consequences. Most notably, Eve disbelieved God in the Garden of Eden. She doubted that God had only her good in mind when He issued instructions not to eat of the tree in the midst of the garden. She thought God was holding out on her. Hmm… How did that work out?
Yes, it is only human to doubt. Without question God’s Grace is sufficient, even to cover the sin of unbelief. However, I think it’s important (at least for me) to recognize the root problem. It’s arrogance and pride that keep me from believing God. Unbelief looks at God and asserts: “I do not believe you are who you say you are or that you can do what you say you can do!”
In its most elemental form, unbelief is my desire to put myself above God.
God is not man that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? (Num 23:19)
Thanks to the Holy Spirit working in my heart and mind I am growing in this area, but I have a long way to go! I am learning that it’s best to stay close to the Lord when things are going well. That way, when the trials of life do appear, I am already where I am supposed to be… beneath the shadow of His wings. Safe in my strong tower which is the Lord.
I believe; help my unbelief! (Mark 9:24)
By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel