January 21 - The Sin of Unbelief
Just like faith can propel us from earth to heaven, unbelief can bring us down from heaven to earth. Most of us believe God in some ways but have doubts about Him in other ways. When we fully trust in God, we soar above the clouds to the realm of miracles and possibilities; but when we harbor unbelief in our hearts, we can only move on earth like a worm crawling. Yes, a believer can fall into the sin of unbelief, thus negating all the inheritance and promises of God in his life.
When Jesus went back to His hometown, His own people rejected Him. Despite of His divine wisdom and power, His folks began to have doubts about Him. When a question of doubt arose about the source of His wisdom and power, the sin of unbelief immediately crept in. As more and more questions were raised about His background and family, the people despised His origin and took offense at Him. What a reversal of opinion, from that of amazement to that of rejection. Because they did not give Him honor in Nazareth, Jesus did not do many mighty works there. The sin of unbelief drives away God’s presence and so the sinner lives only on the physical plane with no connection to the supernatural.
When I attended seminary years ago, the first thing that I learned was biblical criticism. It is not to criticize the bible but to learn about asking questions about the bible as we now have it. In college, the major work for students is to learn to have a critical mind, to learn to ask questions. Many of us, after converting to Christianity, still use the same academic model in trying to analyze God and His Word. Asking questions can help us to understand but some questions can drive us into the sphere of doubt and unbelief. The devil is using our pride and critical thinking against us so we may not go into the fullness God has intended for us.
All of us think and that independent thinking is a gift from God. However, in spiritual matters, faith and obedience have a higher place than our limited thinking ability. Joseph’s brothers were ridden with tremendous guilt when things went wrong and they doubted God’s good intentions for them to be saved. They saw God as some harsh judge who would not help them. Jacob, with a skewed view of Jehovah, always wallowed in self-pity and bitterness. He thought that God had him singled out for disaster, loss and pain without believing God’s goodness and mercy.
Which sphere do you want to live in? In the physical world, sin dominates and your portion is only guilt, fear, mistrust, hate, pain, self-pity, bitterness, suspicion and anger towards God and others. In the spiritual realm where God’s presence is, there is peace, assurance, affirmation, prosperity, joy and peace. Belief and unbelief put you in different worlds. Which world would you like to live in?
Ps 13:1-6 Gen 42:18-43:34 Matt 13:47-14:12 Prov 4:7-10