A Greater Danger than the World’s Unbelief (part 1 – the problem)

Every writer has an ideal reader. Mine is you.

Every writer has a message. Mine is this: don’t stop believing.

No, I haven’t been listening to my old Journey albums and I apologize if that song is now stuck in your head, but actually, I don’t. Let that one phrase echo in your mind today because your belief matters.

I hear it all the time lately that the unbelief of the world is setting us on a dangerous course. The unbelief of the world is destructive. The unbelief of the world is a barrier to all that humanity can be.

There’s a greater danger than the unbelief of the world. It’s the unbelief of believers.

Don’t pretend it’s not a thing.

We all wrestle with unbelief. It’s a cousin to doubt but really, it’s a different animal.

You see, it’s vital to humanity that we not only believe IN God, but that we believe God. We trust what He says. And we act on what He says out of that foundation of trust. Our enemy works overtime to entice us into unbelief.

Why does it matter so much?

It doesn’t take much faith to know that when a building is engulfed with flames, we must act to save the people inside. We don’t even hesitate to pull the fire alarm and urge people toward the doors.

But when we sense the building is threatened by invisible, noxious gas, we hesitate. Is that the odor of gas or are we imagining – overreacting? Should we evacuate? Call the fire department?

We rely on CO detectors, as well we should, to confirm our own senses. Even then though, we may waiver in belief of the detector – how old is it, does it just need batteries? What kind of fool will we look like if we pull the alarm and it turns out we’re wrong? But what if all the signs are right? What if we still hesitate, wait for symptoms to appear? We could dither ourselves into unconsciousness before we’ve alerted another soul.

Many of us approach evangelism the way we do a whiff of gas in a room. Even with the training we’ve received through God’s Word and the alarm bell of the Holy Spirit sounding off inside that time is growing shorter, we wait for our own eyes to confirm what already know. Afraid of looking like fools if we rile people up without cause. Wouldn’t want to be accused of overreacting.

But it’s worse than that. It’s worse because we ensure that we have a clear path to the exit. We accept Christ and we’re standing by the door watching for His appearance, but the undertow of our remaining unbelief renders us silent to warn the others inside. What kind of love is that? It’s love bound with unbelief.

This is why the writer of Hebrews employs such strong, colorful language in Hebrews 3:13-14 ESV “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.”

How do we know if unbelief is creeping into our walk with Christ? If unbelief swaggered up and offered us a warm embrace, most of us would back away, knowing it was a trap.

So, unbelief courts us slowly, nibbles at our faith in small bites, and inhabits us in stages – like a creeping paralysis. We must be watchful and aware of the signs.

The writer of Hebrews indicates that what we hear, and the state of our hearts demonstrate the state of our belief.

Do we still hear God’s voice? I’m not talking about an audible experience. Does God’s Word still speak to us? Move us? Impact us in a way that spurs us to act, think, or feel differently? Or is our reading and studying stale, cold, remote, removed from the rest of our day?

Do we hear God’s voice clearly through sermons, podcasts, or daily reading but delay action because we have a to-do list and that particular command isn’t on it? One day, I’ll pray more. One day, I’ll share the gospel with that co-worker. One day, I’ll see if there’s something I can do to help with racial reconciliation. One day, I’ll give more generously.

We can one-day ourselves into a wilderness of unbelief until we find we’ve wandered ourselves into silly circles for forty years – always studying, never applying. Always listening, never speaking. Always understanding but never acting.

Have we hardened our hearts against the wonder of our initial belief in Christ and called it maturity? Did we allow our unanswered prayers, a faithless leader, or the drudgery of daily obedience to dull our spiritual senses, muffle our sense of wonder, and create a foothold for unbelief?

Many of us have.

It’s not too late. We can confess, repent, and ask God to soften our hearts. There are steps we can take. Steps I’ll outline in my next post.

Until then, let’s not delay. Let’s ask God right now to reveal any areas of unbelief, any hardening of heart, any move in the direction of that wilderness heading nowhere that is a loss of unbridled belief in Him.

And then, let’s listen to what He says and inhale deeply of the mind-clearing, soul-reviving oxygen of Heaven.


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6 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Anonymous says:

    Amen!!!

  2. James Brewer says:

    My dear sister, I am so grateful for each of your blogs and posts. You are a real blessing to me and dare I say all of God’s flock that yearn to grow in Christ and have that walk that is worthy of our calling. God bless you and thank you for using your God given gifts to build me up in my most holy faith. 😊

  3. Marilyn says:

    Lori, I’ve been reading your blog for years. Everyone opens my eyes to new and exciting yet convicting things. Thank you for using your words for His glory.

  4. Maureen says:

    Ah, yes! Breathing deeply—Jesus in… anything NOT Jesus, out. In… out…Thank you.

  5. Cathy Gohlke says:

    Thank you for this, Lori! Doubt, unbelief, setting aside what is most important is an insidious thing, just as you have written. It is that noxious gas that creeps into the lives of believers without us even realizing it. Thank you for this wake up call! You are such a blessing!

  6. Rob McCullough says:

    Lori, thank you for your insight and timeliness!