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Unbelief that destroys
- Jacob Ninan
What about a person who has asked God to heal him but is not sure if he would be healed? Is this unbelief? Is he going to be thrown into the lake of fire on the judgment day (Re.21:8)? People may not go to the extent of allotting him a place in hell, but certainly there are many who will condemn him for his unbelief and lack of faith. They may ask him, "Don't you believe that God can do anything? When you have asked God to heal you and you doubt if He will do it, isn't it unbelief?"
He believes that God can heal. That was why he asked God to heal him, in the first place! Where then is his unbelief? Isn't he only wondering if God will answer his prayer in the way he expects?
For a person who claims to have 'faith' the above argument is not sufficient. He claims that Jesus has promised to give whatever we ask for (Jn.14:13). But isn't it also written that if we abide in Jesus, and His words abide in us, then He will do whatever we want (Jn.15:7)? Hasn't it also been clarified that if we ask anything according to God's will He will grant it to us (1Jn.5:14,15)? When we ask for something that we wish for, but are not sure if it is according to God's will, is it unbelief?
If we find ourselves in a situation when our future or the safety of our family is at risk, thoughts of anxiety rise up in our heart. We know that God is in control, but we also know that many times God allows His children to go through suffering in this world, and we aren't sure which way we are heading. Anxiety is a part of the temptation, and till we overcome it case by case through placing our trust in God, it would trouble us. The more experienced and mature we are, our anxiety levels will be lower, and we will overcome it quicker. But will we consider ourselves as unbelievers if we are tempted with anxiety?
Faith is a choice that we make. We choose at first to accept what God tells us about our sins, and then we place our trust in Jesus as our Saviour and Lord. Then when we are tempted at different times in many ways we learn to overcome them by trusting in God and believing and doing what His word says. Unbelief is also a choice, where one refuses to believe what God says. It is more than an inability to believe. Young Christians may be excused if they are unable to trust God for great things. God didn't rebuke Mary when she asked how she could conceive (Lk.1:34). But what God cannot tolerate is if someone chooses to go against Him, especially if he chooses to go against what he knows inside his heart is right. That is the unbelief that the Bible talks about. The Bible mentions those who knew God refusing to honour Him as God (Ro.1:21). It is a deliberate choice they make against God.
After coming to Christ too we may have chosen at times to do what we knew to be wrong. That is disobedience coming from unbelief. The Bible warns us that if we don't take care of unbelief and disobedience we too may ultimately lose out on what God has promised us (He.3:18,19).