Theology Thursday: Battling Unbelief

In the book of Genesis Abraham is told by God to leave his country, and go to a far off land, where the Lord would, “Make a great nation” from him. If Abraham packs up everything he owns, and moves to a far off land, God will build from him a great nation. That is a pretty impressive promise!!! It’s also impressive that Abraham actually packed up everything he owned, grabbed his wife, and left the place that they had always lived. Abraham believed the promise of God, and he obeyed what the Lord was asking of him.

As followers of Jesus, we sometimes find it difficult to obey the commands of God. Author John Piper writes in his book Battling Unbelief, “We sin because it offers some promise of happiness.” So in breaking God’s commands we are believing the lie of the enemy that there is more pleasure and fulfillment in committing that sin, than in following Jesus. By continuing to walk in unrepentant sin we are having unbelief in the promises of God, and that unbelief is the reason we do not obey God.

Those empty promises are proclaimed everywhere, in the music we listen to, the movies we watch, the magazines we read, and the billboards we drive past. Several months ago there was a billboard for Mercedes-Benz across from the Southland Mall. The sign had a beautiful new car with the caption “Happiness is just around the corner.” The message there is: “You aren’t happy! But if you buy an expensive foreign car you are promised happiness!”

In Christ we are offered promises as well, deeper and greater promises:

  • ​Rest for your soul (Matthew 11:28)
  • ​Supply of all your needs (Philippians 4:19)
  • ​Peace of mind and heart (John 14:27)
  • ​Eternal Life (Romans 6:23)
  • ​Purpose in suffering (Romans 8:28)
  • ​Joy (Psalms 16:11)
  • Never being left of forsaken (Hebrews 13:5)

Part of preaching the gospel to ourselves is reminding ourselves of those promises. By faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus we have rest for our souls, we have peace of mind that God is in control. We have joy knowing that there is purpose in every high and every low we go through. We need to remember that we’ve been purchased with the blood of Jesus and we now belong to him. Look back at your life and see how the Lord was faithful and brought you through difficult circumstances. He’s been faithful with his promises in the past, and he will continue to be faithful in the future. This will protect us from pursuing happiness in things that don’t last and can’t truly satisfy our thirsty souls.