The distance between unbelief, and belief in Jesus, is not as great as you may think. Human thought, emotions, and the voices of those who want you to remain distanced from Christ all confuse weak belief. Let’s consider briefly how Scripture brings clarity to this.
In response to Jesus telling the father of a demon possessed boy that “All things are possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23); “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief’” (Mark 9:24). This father wanted the freedom from demons for his son that only Jesus could give. Yet this father recognised his own questionable belief in Jesus. Yes, the man had genuine desire for his son’s well-being. Likewise, he knew his own lack of sincere and surrendered dependence in Jesus. His weak belief would likely turn away from Christ should Jesus deliver the boy, like so many others had done. What a terrible dilemma he found within himself.
He recognised and wanted the best of Christ for his son. He had a genuinely sincere measure of partial belief that he knew was NOT sufficient. He must have thought that he was a faith failure. However, we then witness the quality of this father’s little belief. He speaks directly to the deliverer of demons and the healer of deficient belief. The most amazing request is made knowing that only Jesus Christ could answer; “help my unbelief.”
These lessons still apply today. Self-examination is needed when asking for an increase in belief because God knows what really motivates the request. Should you ask with a wrong motive and receive nothing, sin within you will typically blame God and grow resentment against Him.
To believers struggling under the trials of Christian life, James advised the following. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting…” (James 1:5-6).
Often people “ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (James 4:3). Sadly, this can be true when considering believing Jesus for forgiveness and eternal life. Deep within, some simply want Jesus so that they can prosper. Repentance becomes nothing more than a magic little prayer chant. The devil’s lie says; ‘come to Jesus and He will give whatever you want.’ What’s missing in this scenario is humble repentance over personal sin while turning to Jesus as permanent Lord.
The Salvation Sermon
During Jesus sermon on the mountain (Matthew chapters 5-7), He referred repeatedly to how genuine belief interacts with God. In Matthew 7:7 Jesus said; “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you”. If you are certain that your motive is genuinely for spiritual cleansing, for new life as a follower of Jesus, and for eternal life in heaven, then Jesus words stand true. Ask for greater belief, ask for a repentant heart, and ask for a selfless humble attitude toward Jesus as Lord over your life. Ask Jesus to make you a seeker of these qualities, and knock at heaven’s door expecting God to place them within you.
Be encouraged, if you realise your faith is weak yet genuine, ask the Lord to help you. Desire faith which “is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). Request that He grow your little belief to great belief.
Next week we shall consider how to put sincere little belief into action.