Did you know you can actually be an unbelieving believer? It’s not an oxymoron. It happens when vital elements of faith are ‘found missing’ (oops there’s an oxymoron for sure) in a person who believes in Jesus. The biggest element missing in the unbelieving believer is absolute trust in the Word of God. It comes when we are ruled by our five senses and they override any thoughts of supernatural possibilities found in God’s promises. Unbelief at times is like running into a wall, even with experienced followers of Christ.
One day Jesus walked down off the mountain after being transfigured in front of three of His close disciples. He was confronted by a desperate man who was fighting for his son’s life. A demon had entrenched itself in the boy and would throw him into fire or water trying to kill him. The man had brought the boy to the disciples Jesus had left at the bottom of the mountain, but they could not help the boy. The man wisely kept trying and went to Jesus for help and help he got. When the boy saw Jesus the spirit threw him on the ground causing him to wallow around and foam at the mouth. It must have been quite a sight.
In the background the unsuccessful disciples looked on as Jesus brought about a wonderful deliverance for the boy. Jesus’s only requirement was that the boy’s father believe. In Mark 9:23-24 Jesus counseled him saying “…If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
The truth is we all struggle with unbelief but we shouldn’t make excuses for it. Unbelief is a killer. It’s a killer of miracles, of ministry and just plain old confidence. It can stop the power of faith from working through our lives. Consider the disciples and their situation here. They were men who had already experienced the power of faith working through them before this. They had cast out devils and healed the sick. They had handled the miracle loaves and fish, but for some reason this time was different. I can see heads hanging down and tears dropping on dusty sandals as Jesus gets to the heart of the problem. Mark 9:28-29 And when… His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” “…He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”
It wasn’t a faith problem at all. Jesus said if you have faith as a grain of a mustard seed you can move mountains. It was an unbelief problem. The believers were dealing with unbelief and it wasn’t that they needed to fast and pray to get God to change His mind or that this particular devil was invincible. (It may have looked like it but it wasn’t). I believe Jesus was saying fasting and prayer was needed because there was too much flesh in control of the disciples. There was too much sense power working, especially when the boy fell down, wallowing, convulsing and foaming at the mouth. Obviously it didn’t look like things were working and unbelief started kicking in.
Good grief! (Oops. There’s another oxymoron). If the disciples could struggle with unbelief so can we. What’s the remedy? The same as theirs. Let’s put our flesh under through fasting and prayer and of course a regular diet of the Word of God. Let’s stop looking at seemingly impossible situations like their are not subject to change, because they are. Lord HELP our unbelief be overcome!