I believe in Jesus. But I know I also don’t.
What we believe comes through most in what we do much more than in what we say or think we believe. I can say I trust Jesus, but my stress, vanity, self-centeredness, busy-ness, and gluttony reveal something else.
What we turn to in our times of need, these are the things we really trust in.
Where do you turn when you need comfort, validation, money, time, courage, strength, friendship, rest, mercy, assurance, wisdom, help, hope, or love? Look where you turn and you’ll discover your gods.
The “sin that so easily entangles” (Hebrews 12:1) is often where we’re running with our needs. The needs aren’t the problem, the problem is what we trust to meet the needs. Whether pornography, sex outside marriage, faulty gender identities, emotional dependency, or something else, there are innumerable gods offering to give what we need if only we’ll believe in them.
God invites us to believe in Him instead.
For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me,
The fountain of living waters,
To hew for themselves cisterns,
That can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:13)
But what do we do when we don’t believe? What do we do when we look within and find in fact our faith in Him is small?
For a long time, I tried to kind of “rev up” faith in God, tried harder to believe, tried to push away my doubts.
It didn’t really work. It usually left me more isolated and discouraged.
If you’re struggling with belief today, can I offer just a few ideas that are helpful to me?
1. Be honest with God.
One of my favorite people in all of Scripture is the dad who brought his deaf, mute, demonized son to Jesus in Mark 9. When Jesus told the man (in essence) that belief would make healing possible, this dad who had certainly prayed and prayed prior to this moment, cried out desperately, “I believe! Help me in my unbelief!” And Jesus delivered his son. We err when we think we can’t be honest with God. He knows how little our faith is.
2. Ask Him for help.
Likewise, we can ask Jesus to share His faith with us. It’s ironic, isn’t it, that we believe God gives all manner of good gifts (life, salvation, spiritual gifts, wisdom, etc.) to us through faith, and yet we act as though faith is something He would withhold?
3. Trust a little.
When Jesus spoke of needing only a tiny mustard seed’s worth of faith to be able to tell a mountain to throw itself into the sea, He was saying the point of faith is not how much you have, it’s how loving, powerful, and generous your Heavenly Father is. Otherwise, we’re really just putting faith in our faith rather than in God.
4. Move forward.
Step out as though you have the faith you need. Instead of waiting until you feel like you have enough faith, take a step of faith. The Apostle James wrote about the indelible relationship between faith and action. About Abraham, James wrote, “You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected” (James 2:22). We err when we believe faith will always well up and overflow with action. Sometimes it works the other way around.
5. Gaze upon on the Cross.
Where you’re struggling to trust God will pull through for you, that He cares, that He forgives, that He understands, I know of no better place to look than to Jesus on the Cross. Bring your weariness, sadness, doubts, fears, frustrations, and even your fury against God.
These are just a few ideas, but there is so much more that can help us to believe. I’d love to hear from you. What helps you believe? What increases your faith? Leave a comment below.
Thanks Josh. This created some serious thought, repentance, prayer & hope in me today.
That man’s response to Jesus in Mark 9 is becoming kind of a motto for my life.