Mark 9:17-24 (NIV)
17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” 19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” 20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
How do you believe when you can’t find a reason to? How do you find the strength to believe when everything in your soul hurts and wants to give up? You don’t really want to believe anymore because believing seems senseless. Believing can seem cruel, like you’re doing yourself some type of injustice. Especially when you look around at the ones who don’t believe and appear to be fine, at least on the outside anyway. Or how about those who you thought believed but at times have conveniently set their beliefs aside to enjoy the pleasures of the world? If you’re honest with yourself, there have probably been many times when you found yourself flirting with the flip side of believing, known as not believing. Your mind drifted off and begin to examine the pros and cons of not believing. It looked as if not believing might be the way to go, you’d feel free and life would become simple because you’re no longer tied down by believing. Instead you just get to do whatever feels good, whatever feels right. But then you’re faced with more questions. How long will the freedom last? Will it be painful to live not believing or will it be a breeze? If you stop believing, what are you going to do when you find yourself in a situation where you need something to believe in?
Uncertain of the outcome that not believing will bring, you decide to keep on believing a little while longer, but life happens and the road of believing gets hard again. Those nagging feelings consume you again, discouragement, frustration, or even feeling forgotten by God. Where is He? Why must I wait so long? All of a sudden your heart is heavy, you have no peace and you just want to give up. You feel believing has failed you and that there has to be another way. You find yourself haunted by an unrelenting question, “Why Do I Believe?”
Some time ago, I was sitting in church, the pastor was preaching, I was surrounded by other brothers and sisters in Christ in a beautiful sanctuary. On the outside everything seemed perfect, but on the inside my heart was wondering, “Why Do I Believe?”
Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). God heard the question in my heart that Sunday morning, and for several seconds everything went silent except the sound of His voice speaking these three words to me, “Believe Me Now”. The Holy Spirit captured my heart when He spoke those words. Doubt came to an immediate halt. My soul was comforted. Heaven had reached down into the seat where I sat and told me to believe. Not just to believe, but to believe Now. Why was God’s message so urgent that he told me to “Believe Him Now?” I’m guessing that He was determined to quickly pull me away from the unsettling thoughts in my mind that could lead me away from his will and down the road of disbelief.
I must be honest, I have been down that road of disbelief before. There have been times in my life where I was one of the ones who chose to set her beliefs aside to enjoy the pleasures of the world. It may have felt good temporarily but it always would end in emptiness and hurt. With every empty, hurtful experience came more resolution to persevere in faith and keep believing God. There is a scripture that keeps me aware of sins deception, James 1:14-15, which says, “14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
Sin when full grown always leads to some type of death. It could be physical, emotional, or relational, just to name a few, but the possibilities of sin’s devastation are endless. Whenever you are tempted by your own evil desires, open your ears to hear God’s voice saying, “Believe Me Now”. Then use your voice to speak out, like the father in Mark 9 and say, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Not believing what God says is sin, but we can stay safe in his loving arms by choosing to believe what He says over the world and even over ourselves when our thinking is contrary to His.
The Lord is passionate about us, even when we are less than passionate about Him. He still remains steadfast. He still loves. He still protects. He even understands our questions and our weaknesses, but he also knows the dangers that we invite into our lives when we linger too long in disbelief. Stay close to the Master. Don’t just believe in Him, but believe in what He says. Sin doesn’t set us free, the Son does. Sin leads us into bondage. Bondage to ourselves, bondage to the Enemy. Freedom comes from knowing Jesus Christ and “Believing Him Now.” When we are free in Jesus Christ, God’s son, we are free indeed (John 8:36).
We believe please help us overcome any unbelief we have! You search our hearts and know even our deepest secrets (Jeremiah 17:10, Psalm 44:21). Please help us to remain steadfast and not to be dragged away by our own evil desires. Thank you for helping us to believe You every day without hesitation.
In the name of Jesus. Amen.