Help My Unbelief!

February 10, 2011 at 11:44 am | Posted in Devotional thoughts, Security and Assurance | 5 Comments

Here are two follow up thoughts on my recent article called No Condemnation.

In my Reformation Overview study this week, we discussed the matter of Sola Scriptura, the belief that the Bible is our sole authority in the church and in our Christian lives.  At the end, someone prayed “Lord, open our eyes to the times and the ways which we don’t accept the Bible as our authority.”   Having just had some conversations about assurance and having just written an article about it, it occurred to me that the assurance issue is for many an issue of biblical authority.  Many people who struggle with assurance are really struggling with this foundational matter.  They are counting feelings and perceptions as more authoritative than the truths of God’s Word; they believe how they feel rather than what God says.  Believing what God says is a matter of will, not a matter of feelings.  We must decide to take what God says seriously, regardless of what we feel or what we perceive to the contrary.  God says it, therefore it’s true.  The feelings may or may not follow after, but the truth remains the same.

The second thought should encourage those who struggle with biblical authority over feelings and perceptions.  This morning I read Mark 8 and 9 in my devotions, and one of my favorite unnamed biblical characters appears in the second of those chapters.  He is a father whose son has had a demon since childhood which had “often cast him into fire and into water to destroy him.”  After pleading with Jesus to do something about it, Jesus said, “All things are possible for one who believes.”  The man’s response to that is forever preserved in scripture, I think, for our encouragement.  He says, “I believe; help my unbelief!”  As though he knew he had to believe Jesus, but wasn’t sure he fully believed, he did what all of us must do in that situation, cry out to Jesus for help.  That is true faith.  Often when we struggle with a lack of faith, we somehow think we have to try harder to believe more.  But that action is the very denial of faith.  When you struggle believing, confess it to Jesus and ask him to help your unbelief.

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5 Comments »

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  1. Thank you Pastor. I am very familiary with “I believe; help my unblief!” And it is reassuring to know that this cry to Jesus for help is true faith. Again, thank you!

  2. “Many people who struggle with assurance are really struggling with this foundational matter. They are counting feelings and perceptions as more authoritative than the truths of God’s Word; they believe how they feel rather than what God says. ”

    I want to thank you for writing this post.

    I am 44 years old, have been a Christian since I was a child. I understand these words of yours that I quoted. I have been suffering from panic attacks since the spring of 2008. They come out of nowhere and have symptoms that are like those experienced when having a heart attack or stroke. They did blood work last year and said I was fine, but suffering from anxiety attacks. The doctor gave me a prescription for prozac, but I read about all of the side effects and decided to throw the prescription away.

    Even when I am not having an attack there is almost always this vague, gloomy “feeling” that I am a goat or a tare. When I am having an attack that feeling accuses me in a very intense way leaving me paralyzed physically and “feeling” terrified and hopeless. I still cling to the Lord even at those times…especially at those times, and tell myself over and over:

    “What does Romans 8:29-31 say? What does Romans 10:8-13 say? You called on the Lord, because you heard Him calling you. That means you are a Christian…you are one of the elect. What did Jesus say to Peter in Luke 22:31-32? Satan can sift you till your brain is completely rattled, but you are in the Lord’s mighty hand…His hand has no holes for you to fall through.”

    I for many years was under holiness teachings by those who rejected the truth of eternal security/perseverance of the saints. It was in 1999 that I began to embrace that truth and I share it boldly in my blog. I sometimes have these attacks after I post an entry. They make me doubt the truth of eternal security and afraid I will be judged for writing about it. I also have been afraid lately that perhaps it is wrong for me to blog, because I am a woman and maybe I should be “silent”.

    Please pray for me and my family. We are also still looking for a church home (it’s been 3 years now).

  3. Theresa,
    Once again I appreciate your comments. Your open honesty is sure to be helpful to others. Keep holding on to God’s truth.
    I get so many questions on assurance matters, that I have a section in the right hand column just for those posts. If any readers are interested they can click on the security and assurance link there.
    GG

  4. Theresa: I, too, struggle with anxiety. Thank you so much for your posting–because I can truly identify with you. And your responses to your “panic attacks” about assurance will now help to reassure me during my times of trial and doubt. I hope you find a church home soon. I will be praying for you and your family. A sister-in-Christ, Donna

  5. Pastor Glenn,

    Thank you so much for your encouraging words. I will probably be reading from the security and assurance link.

    Donna,

    My heart was so touched that you responded to my comment. Thank you so much! It is a wonderful thing to know people are praying; it somehow makes me feel connected at a time when I sort of feel disconnected from the body…a local and visible body. I am so glad that I can share the comfort that comforts me. It somehow makes the suffering easier for me to bear. :)

    Your sister-in-Christ, Theresa


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