So, do you believe in Jesus? How much? Do you believe enough?
Evangelicals are known for wanting people to cross ‘the line of faith’ from unbelief to belief. Rightly so, since Jesus was pretty clear, with statements like “whoever believes in me shall have eternal life” and “I am the way, the truth and the light. No man comes to the Father except through me.” Belief in Jesus is essential. . . .not optional if one wants forgiveness and eternal life.
Folks who have ‘grown up in church’ have a hard time remembering when they didn’t believe. If your parents, Sunday school teacher, pastor or priest told you about Jesus, why wouldn’t you believe? And strongly! Just the other day, I tried to convince my granddaughters mermaids were make-believe. They were loud and unanimous, reminding me that several key figures in their lives were invisible but not imaginary. Unicorns, the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and Jesus. They got me.
But belief vacillates. Belief goes up and down. If we had a ‘belief meter’, I think there would be wild swings in our belief level depending on our circumstances.
Jesus was fully God and fully human.
One of the foremost mysteries anywhere. On the cross, even his belief meter might have gone up and down. On the high end when he says “Father, forgive them”. On the low when he cries out “Father, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus never vilified anyone for doubting, but he worked hard to give us more than enough reasons to believe.
We’re smart to recognize the ‘up and down’ . . . the ‘ebb and flow’ of belief. When we’re ‘in the Spirit’, worshiping with all our hearts, surrounded by people who love Jesus like we do, our belief meter pegs 100 and stays north of 90 . . . for a while. Then Monday comes, traffic happens, bosses, deadlines, conflicts, life . . . and our belief meter settles back between 60 and 65. Watch any science program that sets out to make your faith look like myth and your belief meter might bounce down into the 40’s for a while. Lose someone you love unexpectedly and your belief meter sputters near zero. “Where were you, God?”
C.S. Lewis calls this the law of undulation. He said humans are amphibians – half spirit and half animal. The spirit part lives in the eternal world, the animal part lives in time, in the ‘here and now’. The tension leads to “a repeated return to a level from which they repeatedly fall back, a series of troughs and peaks.”
So how do we deal with doubt and unbelief?
Don’t panic. Go back to the Source of our faith and ask for help. In Mark 9:22-24, the father of the demon-possessed boy asked Jesus “If you can do anything….” Jesus replied “If you can? Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Jesus did, the demon was cast out and the boy was healed.
Father, help me overcome my unbelief.
Question: What do you do when your ‘belief meter’ swings to the low end? Tell us here
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