Unbelief can shut down the “Shalom Cycle” that God intends for our lives. Even worse, unbelief can put us on a slippery slope that could be disastrous for our future! So it is vital that we understand what unbelief is, how we can recognize it in our own lives, and the steps we can take to recover from unbelief.
First of all, let me remind you of what the Shalom Cycle looks like—
Quite simply, when we are grateful for what God has already done for us it fuels our trust in God’s future grace to meet our needs.
But when we forget to be grateful and gratitude turns to grumbling, unbelief displaces trust.
A good way to remember how unbelief works is thinking of it as an un-complete faith. An un-complete faith is lacking power to trust God because of one of two reasons:
- Either we don’t know there is a promise available to us,
- Or we know of a promise but don’t think it applies to our circumstance.
J.C. Ryle pointed out that, “Unbelief has a power to rob man of highest blessings.”
Hebrews 3 shows us that left unchecked and uncorrected, unbelief can turn into disbelief. You can remember this word by defining it as a complete disintegration of faith. Notice in Hebrews 3 how quickly the word unbelieving becomes turns away from God, and how closely associated are the words unbelief and disobeyed (Hebrews 3:12, 19-20).
We need to correct and reverse unbelief as quickly as possible. We do this through capturing our thoughts—or thinking about what we’re thinking about—and identifying three warning signs:
- Worrying all the time—God wants you to enter His rest, not wallow in worry (Hebrews 3:11)
- Making contingency plans—the Israelites forgot to be grateful and they grumbled instead. The next step (since they didn’t trust that God’s future grace would take them into the Promised Land) was to disobey by concocting a Plan B: “Let’s go back to Egypt.”
- An inward focus on self-preservation—we no longer encourage others but think only of ourselves (Hebrews 3:13).
If you detect any of these warning signs, quickly repent (Revelation 3:2-3) and then run to Jesus for help. One of the most honest prayers you can pray—and one of the prayers Jesus answers the quickest—is “Lord, I believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:22-24).
“Lord, I believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
Take control of grumbling by gratitude
Take control of unbelief by repentance and running to Jesus for help
Then help others take control of their unbelief by encouraging one another daily
Join me next Sunday for the final message in our 4-part series on God’s Shalom.