“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder!” James 2:19
I can remember the first time I “got” this verse. Growing up in a Christian home, attending Christian school, and being raised in the church, there were few Bible verses that I wasn’t familiar with. I had heard this verse taught numerous times in regards to faith. “You must believe in God!” That’s typically how it went. Perhaps that’s why I was shaken to my core the first time I really understood what this verse was saying. Many people will say that they “believe in God”, and in light of the above verse, that’s not really a remarkable statement. We certainly know that the demons aren’t going to make it into heaven on that claim. So, there must be something more that God is calling us to as His children, right?
I was doing a Bible study with one of my best friends when I was struck with this truth:
Believing IN God and Believing God are two very different things. Wow! As simple a statement as it is, I was awestruck! How could I have missed this for so long? I’ve always been one to believe IN God, even since I was a child. God’s existence was something that I just never questioned. I was, however, brought to my knees in humility upon realizing that I believed God for far too little. I would say things like “God is awesome, God is good, God is faithful…”, yet when it came down to the day-to-day of my own life, I realized that I wasn’t believing God to do the impossible. I wasn’t standing on His Word and claiming its promises over my circumstances. In a nutshell, I loved God, but I depended on myself. This is not what God wants for us.
As the unbelief in my heart was exposed, I began to see the need for prayer. In the past, I had always viewed prayer as simply bringing requests to God. Someone was sick? I prayed that God would heal them. A friend was going through a rough time? I prayed that God would help them get through it. I failed to see the need to search out God’s Word for His truth and to pray that truth over my life to develop faith in the areas that I suffered from unbelief. More than anything else, I’m convinced that Satan thrives on planting seeds of unbelief in our hearts and in our thoughts. When things aren’t going the way we had planned, he tempts us to doubt God’s goodness. When calamity of all sorts falls on us, he tempts us to doubt that God is faithful. If we linger in doubt and unbelief for long enough, our faith is crippled. And a crippled faith is ineffective faith. If the enemy can get us bound by the stronghold of unbelief, he has us exactly where he wants us. We must break free!
Is there an area of unbelief in your life that God is exposing right now? Perhaps like myself, you have doubted God’s goodness. Far too many bad things have happened, and you struggle to believe that God is good despite your circumstance. Maybe your unbelief rests in His sovereignty, that God is in control of all things. So instead, you strive to maintain control in every area of your life, fearing that you will let the ball drop and then everything will come crashing down. Some of you doubt God’s provision. Others fail to believe that God is faithful, always, no matter what. Whatever the unbelief, faith in the all-powerful, matchless God is the answer. Allow the truth of His Word to transform your mind instead of our culture, and you’ll begin to see faith blossom in your heart.
I confess that I have far too often wallowed in unbelief. I’ve doubted your goodness and questioned your faithfulness. The truth is that you have never left me nor forsaken me. In my own sin and selfishness, I’ve turned from you to pursue temporary pleasures that have only left me empty and wanting. Forgive me, Lord for my unbelief. Forgive me for blaming you for the pain that my foolish choices have brought into my life. Today, I choose to recognize my error, and I ask that you would begin to strengthen my faith from this moment forward. I do believe you, God. Help me overcome my unbelief! Help me to trust you despite my circumstances. Teach me to believe you for great things because you are a great God. Your Word says that it is impossible to please you without faith. More than anything, I desire that my life would bring you pleasure, honor, and glory. Increase my faith in you, Jesus. I know I still have so much to learn, so keep teaching me. I will forever be found at your feet.
In Jesus’ name,