In Mark 9, the gospel writer records an encounter Jesus has with a possessed boy. His disciples had been unable to cast the unclean spirit out, and, in verse 20, the spirit reacts violently to being in Jesus’ presence. Jesus replies that all things are possible to one who believes, and the father of this boy pleads with Jesus, “I believe. Help my unbelief.” So many times, in prayer and in study I remember these words. Despite our faith and trust in God, we all struggle with times of unbelief.
There are a couple of things we can do to perfect our faith in the face of unbelief.
- Romans 10:17 says that our faith comes through exposure to God’s word, and James 1:22-25 makes it clear we have to live that word for it to take hold in our lives.
- James 1:6 encourages to pray in faith, not allowing doubt to toss us around. Also, chapter 5:15-16 testifies to the power of sincere prayer.
We can increase our faith through greater knowledge, greater application, and a more active prayer life. How often do any of us pick up our Bibles or bend our knees? We schedule our lunches, our appointments, our dates, and our other activities. We should also have time set aside to talk to our God and to study from His word. The more time we spend in the presence of God, the less time we have to walk contrary to His will.
Abraham’s Example of Faith
In Genesis 15:6, God accounts Abraham’s faith to righteousness, and James 2:23 uses similar language in referring to the events of Genesis 22. Abraham, though, demonstrates many examples of faith prior to Genesis 15 or 22. What James is explaining is that the events of Genesis 22 is a culmination of the faith he demonstrates prior to that near-sacrifice.
Despite this faith, Genesis is replete with examples of Abraham falling short. He struggles with his faith. He stumbles in sin, but he presses forward. The overall direction of his life is typified by faith. We, as sons of Abraham, can be as faithful despite our weaknesses and doubts. His faith produces righteousness and overcomes those shortcomings. Can the same be said of us? Is our trust and confidence in God when it counts the most? Are we able to give control over to our God? While imperfect, Abraham lives in obedience and faith, and God declares him righteous because of that faith.
Read God’s word. Apply it. Spend time talking with God. Set aside time to remember God in our lives, and He will help our unbelief. Will God count our faith unto us as righteousness? We believe in our God and Father, may we allow Him to help our unbelief.
lesson by Tim Smelser