What do you think is the worst sin? “Lack of love,” “pride,” “blasphemy,” “murder,” “rape” are some of the responses I’ve received to my question. The destructive power of unbelief recently challenged me in my Bible reading. There are differing degrees of unbelief with varying consequences, but anyway you slice it, unbelief is destructive and the root of many other sins.
We know the Bible teaches that unbelief keeps a person out of heaven. Eternal life is given to: “those who believe in His name” (John 1:12, 3:16).
Unbelief kept the children of Israel out of the Promised Land. Their unbelief led to all out rebellion against God and they died in the desert because they refused to trust God and His promise.
Now here was the shocker for me this week. Unbelief kept Moses out of the promised land. Moses, the great leader of Israel. How could it be said that he lacked faith?
In the Lord’s own words to Moses, “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them” (Numbers 20:12). It was unbelief that caused him to treat God irreverently before Israel.
Whoa, that brings unbelief closer to home. Lack of faith is not reserved for “unbelievers.” True believers, even great leaders of the faith, can slip into unbelief and suffer the consequences.
That made me ask, “Where is unbelief a part of my life?” Whining, blaming, complaining, allowing insecurity or fear to hold me back are all manifestations of unbelief. Faith is not the same as feeling confident just as courage is not lack of fear. It takes more courage to act when you have much fear. Courage is acting in spite of your fear. Faith is obediently listening to and following Christ. It is taking God at His word, not feeling confident in my abilities and understanding.
Hebrews 3 reminds us that God has provided a rest for the people of God but we can only enter that rest by faith. “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.” (Hebrews 3:12-14).
Unbelief is sin and it robs us of the full and satisfying life God has provided us. God had given the Promised Land to Israel, but they missed it for forty years. God has given us all we need for a rich and satisfying life. What has He promised you? What are you and I missing because we won’t believe Him?
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13).
Deborah W. Wilson
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