The Danger of Unbelief, Part 2

blog pic the danger of unbeliefThe enemy loves to shake our faith in God’s promises. Sometimes we desperately want to trust God’s Word, but we just can’t seem to get there. Last week I blogged about an area of unbelief in my own life. If you haven’t read it yet, feel free to click here for the backstory. Today I want to share three biblical ways to gain victory over unbelief. As I’ve put these into practice, I’ve found my faith strengthened. My hope is that you can resonate with and find help in these, too.

  1. 1) Prayer.

Can we all admit that sometimes we read the word “prayer” and automatically feel a tinge of apathy? It is thrown around so much that it can feel cliché. But I’d encourage you to restore your belief in its God-given power over our emotions and thoughts (Phil. 4:6-7). Prayer keeps us focused on God and His ability instead of our present circumstances.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus tells his disciples to “watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41). Many times Satan tempts us to stop believing God. A lack of faith is not usually something that our hearts want- it is simply something we feel we are falling into unwillingly. Prayer strengthens us by keeping us in step with God’s Spirit.

Here is a scriptural prayer that has been a regular part of my prayer life: “Lord, help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). In this gospel account, a father has experienced years of disappointment with a demon-possessed son. He was struggling to have faith that God could do anything to help his child, so he cried out to God to help his unbelief. Even though this may not be our specific struggle, we can all relate to a seemingly hopeless situation. Let’s ask God to graciously help our unbelief!

2) Stand Firm.

“Stand firm” is easy to say, but how is it actually implemented? I believe part of the answer lies in 1 Peter 5:8b-9a. “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith…” To stand firm, we must first resist the enemy. When he tempts us with a thought that is contrary to God’s promise to us, we don’t allow that thought to come into our minds and take up residence. We don’t entertain, analyze, or give it a platform. We immediately take the thought captive to the obedience of Christ and His Word; we cast it down and put the truth of God in its place.

One practical way to do this is by speaking God’s Word and specific promise out loud when we recognize our faith being challenged. (Warning: you may get a few crazy looks!) But faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17)!

3) Thankfulness.

I’m sure there are mounds of scriptures about the benefits of worship and thankfulness. There is one, though, that has been particularly encouraging to me. In 2 Chronicles 20, God’s people were being attacked by their enemies, so the king appointed some of the people to sing praises to God, thanking Him for His enduring love. The scripture says that “as they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against [their enemies]” (v. 22). There is power in worship and thanksgiving. Like prayer, it turns our mind’s attention to God and His power to do what He has promised. Abraham was known as a man of faith, and this is what the scripture says about him:

“Yet [Abraham] did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised” (Romans 4:20-21).

Prayer, standing firm on God’s Word, and cultivating the habit of thankfulness will throw fuel on the fire of our faith and starve the enemy of his influence.