Christian Living, Church, Faith

Unbelief in the Promises of God

Webster defines wisdom as “the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.” Sagacity, intelligence, understanding, and insight are synonymous terms. Biblical wisdom is a little more precise. To have Biblical wisdom is to think and act in such a way that righteousness prevails because choices are made which are beneficial to self, honoring to God, and productive for all. God has promised to give wisdom to those who lack it. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). However, it is often a challenge for a person to believe in the promises of God. There are reasons why this is true.

One reason why Christians do not believe the promises of God is because the Evil One comes to cast doubt upon God’s Word. “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Gen. 3:1). Satan does not mind engaging in personal Bible study with any Christian. He, and his minions are more than willing to sit down and consider any passage of Scripture. That is why Strangers come knocking at your door. There are emissaries of the Evil One to cast doubt upon the Word of God in order to substitute God’s Word with the words of an angel, or a visionary prophet, or prophetess.

Another reason why Christians do not believe the promises of God is because the Fall has caused individuals to be blinded to spiritual truths. “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Cor. 4:4). It is not surprising that a person does not believe in the resurrection of the dead, in eternal life, in salvation by faith alone in Christ alone. It is also foolish for a person to say that these spiritual realities do not exist. A person born physically blind might deny the sky is blue, or grass is green, because they have not seen the beauty or color of each. Still, they exist. And the promises of God exist too.

Then, some people do not believe the promises of God because their faith is weak. Christians must be patient with those who have weak faith, and help them to grow in the Lord. “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations” (Rom. 14:1). Christians are not to pass judgment on those who are immature, especially on matters that can be disputed. On the other hand, those who know their faith is weak in believing God’s promises can take two actions.

First, such a person can pray for more faith. One day a little boy was brought to Jesus for healing. “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. 24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:23-24). Second, faith can be increased by hearing more of God’s Word. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17).

Another reason it becomes hard to believe in the promises of God is because of a careless embracing of God’s promises. Eyes roll over the Word of God with a spiritual glaze, and without meditation on the significance of what God is saying. One day Joash, the king of Israel went to visit with Elisha. Israel was at war with Syria, and the king desired a military victory. He needed hope for the future.

“And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows. 16 And he said to the king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands. 17 And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow of the LORD’s deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them. 18 And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed. 19 And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice” (2 Kings 13:15-19). Elisha was angry with Joash because he did not believe God enough. He should have believed, and asked for more!

Christian, have you read this promise of the Lord: “I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it” (Psalm 81:10)?

There is yet another reason why so many Christians do not believe in the promises of God, and that is because of erroneous teaching. There are far too many conservative Christians who have been misled into believing that the promises of God are relegated to either a past dispensation, or to a future millennium period, but they are not for today.

So much healing is not received because the provisions of James 5 are not honored. “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:14-16).

Many Christians do not believe they are kings and priests unto God. But they are. “John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; 5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Rev. 1:4-6).  All of this is for the future millennial reign of Christ, they are taught. And so the present blessing and spiritual realities are lost. God’s Word is not believed.

In addition to the wiles of the Devil, spiritual blindness, weak faith, a shallow understanding of God’s Word, and poor teaching by individuals committed to a particular theological System rather than the simplicity of Scripture, is the prevailing thought that if something is too good to be true, then it is too good to be true. In other words, there is a fleshly wisdom of the natural man that dominates the mind, so that God’s thoughts, and God’s Word, are not honored. The mind reinterprets the great and glorious promises of God to make them more manageable. Man simply wants to control God. He wants to be in control of his own life. He wants to be the Captain of his soul. The Master of his own fate. As a result of such thinking, many years are wasted in unbelief and sin.

“Wasted years, wasted years, oh, how foolish
As you walk on in darkness and fear
Turn around, turn around, love is calling
Keeps calling me from a life of wasted years.
 

Have you wandered a lot on life’s pathway
Have you lived without love, a life of tears
Have you searched for a great higher meaning
Or is your life filled with long wasted years?

Wasted years, wasted years, oh, how foolish
As you walk on in darkness and fear
Turn around, turn around, love is calling
Keeps calling you from a life of wasted years.”
 

Red Foley

 A life can be wasted doubting the Word of God.

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