When I Don't Believe in Jesus


Lindsay Wagstaffe gives insight into the heart issues that cause us to sin.

Why do we choose sin over God?

I would like to suggest an answer—the rebellion of unbelief.

I say the rebellion of unbelief for two reasons. First, we have been freed from the power of sin (Gal. 5:20). We have no excuse; even spontaneous sins and sins we aren't aware of stem from rebellion within. Second, all sin can be traced back to the cause of unbelief in truth (Heb. 11:6).

John Piper put it this way in a convicting sermon called Battling the Unbelief of a Haughty Spirit.

Let me begin by defining belief and unbelief. Jesus said in John 6:35, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst."

I take it, then, that unbelief in Jesus (NOT believing in Jesus) is a turning away from Jesus in order to seek satisfaction in other things. And BELIEF in Jesus is coming to Jesus for the satisfaction of our needs and our longings.

Belief is not mainly an agreement with facts in the head; it is mainly an appetite in the heart which fastens on Jesus for satisfaction. "He who comes to me shall not hunger and he who believes in me shall never thirst!"

This is huge! All of our actions are an expression of belief. If I want to know what a person believes, the surest way is not to hear her recite Scripture, but to watch how she acts.

It is wise to stop from time to time and ask ourselves: What do I hunger for? Where do I turn for satisfaction? The answer reveals our treasure—that is where we invest our love.

In Matthew 13:45–46, Jesus tells of a shrewd merchant who sold all his possessions to attain a "pearl of great value." He was simply sane; he knew the value of the pearl when he saw it, and he acted accordingly. We pronounce the deepest kind of belief in the worth of whatever we choose to treasure.

What do we neglect to hunger for? Where do we fail to turn for satisfaction? That is what wedon't value. If the merchant in Jesus' parable had seen a counterfeit pearl, he wouldn't have sold a single chicken for it. We pronounce unbelief in the worth of whatever we choose not to treasure.

I'm starting to ask more questions when the Holy Spirit alerts me to a sin. "If God is holy, how must I respond right now?" "If God is good, what is the only way I can respond to that truth right now?" "Father, how am I failing to believe what You have declared true right now?"

As you mull over these hard truths, ask yourself these questions.

What sins do you consistently find yourself returning to? How is each sin tied to unbelief?

What truths do you need to fight the lies you just identified? Where are these truths found in the Word of God?

I'm praying Mark 9:24 for myself: "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"

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