Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fighting the Enemy of Unbelief...

Studying this morning, I read a passage by Charles Spurgeon on unbelief.  I meet so many people who struggle with unbelief...and not just teenagers and college students!  Usually, we seem to struggle with unbelief when we are faced with serious obstacles or trials in life.  This is where our faith is truly tested.  I think that most of us can totally identify with the father in this story:



'A man in the crowd answered, "Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not." 
"O unbelieving generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me." So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 

Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?" "From childhood," he answered.  "It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us." "'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes." Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"' -- Mark 9:17-24 (NIV)


I confess that I have prayed these very words many times in my life.  Too many times I have been faced with problems with finances, sickness, obstacles to doing ministry, or even the ongoing struggle I face in dealing with depression.  I tend to find myself relying on my own understanding in trying to figure a way out of these problems.  Never once have I been able to figure out any of these problems on my own.  When I have tried, I have failed miserably.  That is part of why I continue to talk publicly about dealing with depression.  I realized that I can not beat it on my own...and trust me, I've tried.  I must continue to move forward, trusting those that God has guided me to for help.  I have no doubt that the doctor and the counselor that I speak with were put there by the Lord to remind me that He is still leading me, even when my belief and strength are failing.  The war with unbelief is real, and one that I believe we all wage daily.

My prayer for you is that you realize that you are not ever alone as you move through tough days that come in life.  I have a trusted set of friends that God uses to remind me of His grace and love.  That group is not immune to this battle of unbelief, either.  I must do my part in encouraging and lifting others up in prayer, as well.  If you do not have people in your life like this, I encourage you to find a church home, and ask God to give you a friend like this.  God speaks to us through His Word (The Bible), prayer, and through His people.  We must fight the enemy of unbelief together.  If you are reading this and feel all alone, I pray that you sense the power and peace of Jesus right now.  He tells us in Hebrews 13 that He will not leave you, or forsake you.  I posted the passage from Charles Spurgeon below, in case you would like to read it. 


"STRIVE with all diligence to keep out that monster unbelief. It so dishonours Christ, that He will withdraw His visible presence if we insult Him by indulging it. It is true it is a weed, the seeds of which we can never entirely extract from the soil, but we must aim at its root with zeal and perseverance.

Among hateful things it is the most to be abhorred. Its injurious nature is so venomous that he that exerciseth it and he upon whom it is exercised are both hurt thereby. In thy case, O believer! it is most wicked, for the mercies of thy Lord in the past, increase thy guilt in doubting Him now. When thou dost distrust the Lord Jesus, He may well cry out, "Behold I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves." This is crowning His head with thorns of the sharpest kind. It is very cruel for a well-beloved wife to mistrust a kind and faithful husband. The sin is needless, foolish, and unwarranted. Jesus has never given the slightest ground for suspicion, and it is hard to be doubted by those to whom our conduct is uniformly affectionate and true.

Jesus is the Son of the Highest, and has unbounded wealth; it is shameful to doubt Omnipotence and distrust all-sufficiency. The cattle on a thousand hills will suffice for our most hungry feeding, and the granaries of heaven are not likely to be emptied by our eating. If Christ were only a cistern, we might soon exhaust His fulness, but who can drain a fountain? Myriads of spirits have drawn their supplies from Him, and not one of them has murmured at the scantiness of His resources. Away, then, with this lying traitor unbelief, for his only errand is to cut the bonds of communion and make us mourn an absent Saviour. Bunyan tells us that unbelief has "as many lives as a cat:" if so, let us kill one life now, and continue the work till the whole nine are gone. Down with thee, thou traitor, my heart abhors thee."

                                                                                   -- "Morning & Evening" by Charles Spurgeon

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