The Three Faces of Unbelief

The Three Faces of Unbelief

Unbelief probably has many more than three faces, but I see these clearly lurking in my heart. 

1)  Independence.  I choose not to believe in God’s power or goodness because I don’t need to.  Who needs God when I have myself?  Who needs the gifts God gives through people, leaders, counsel, encouragement, or correction, when I have my own thoughts to keep me company?

2) Fatalism.  All that happens would have happened whether I prayed or not, whether I obeyed or not, whether I believed God or not.  Since God is sovereign over all things, I’ll just do what I want and walk through life experiencing the pain and joys I was always meant to experience.

3) Cynicism.  Even my best efforts are unworthy, so God is probably looking for new ways to punish me.  I may pray, but God will not listen.  I may obey, but God will not be pleased. I may trust, but God’s anger will get me in the end.

All three of these faces turn away from the invitation of faith. Faith says:

1) Trust.  I am dependent on God for all things.  I need the people he has placed in my life. I am glad to feel weak so that he can demonstrate his power through me.  I trust the all-powerful God.

2) Trust.  I will pray and obey without understanding how a Sovereign God can “respond” to prayers, or be pleased with a choice he ordained me to make.  I don’t need to know how prayer, obedience, and sovereignty are reconciled.  I trust the all-wise God.

3) Trust.  I am unworthy, but God sees me in Christ.  I may fail, but God will use even my failures for my good and his glory. I will stumble, but God will preserve me till the end and will present me blameless in the day of Christ Jesus.  I will trust the all-good God.

The faces of unbelief mask a heart that doubts the character of God.  The heart of faith finds God’s character an endless source of wonder and confidence, fully worthy of our trust.