Faith: God can. God Will. Doubt: Maybe God Can. Maybe God will. Unbelief: God can't. God won't.

Faith, Doubt, and Unbelief

Faith says – God can. God Will.
Doubt says – Maybe God can. Maybe God will.
Unbelief says – God can’t. God won’t.

Faith, Doubt, and Unbelief

So today’s post is really something that I’ve been studying for my own enjoyment, but I have enjoyed it so much that I thought I’d share it here too. I’ve been studying the difference between faith, doubt, and unbelief and how they affect our prayers. Hope you enjoy reading as much as I’ve enjoyed studying!

Faith – I know God will.

Faith – The sincere belief that God CAN and WILL act on His promises – Pure faith acting in love is always honored by God.

22 And Jesus answered saying to them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. 24 Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. (Mark 11:22-24)
12 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. (John 14:12-14)

Doubt – Uncertainty in our faith.

Doubt – The uncertainty that pollutes our faith. Doubt just isn’t certain that God can or will, either because it doesn’t know what God can and wants to do or because it thinks there is some additional circumstance that is going to supersede God’s ability and desire. Doubt causes us to be double minded – “maybe God will or maybe He won’t.”

6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:1-8)

Doubt doesn’t take away the faith that we do have, it just makes it ineffective. Many sincere believers live in this condition. They have some faith, but they’re just not convinced enough to be able to activate the potential power of that faith.

Unbelief – Faith of another kind.

Unbelief – Unbelief and Doubt are not the same. In fact, I think that unbelief and faith are more closely related because unbelief is really the faith or belief that God either can’t or won’t. Unbelief works very much like a nearly impenetrable wall between an individual and God.

1 Jesus went out from there and *came into His hometown; and His disciples *followed Him. 2 When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him. 4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.” 5 And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And He wondered at their unbelief. (Mark 6:1-6)

To me, the saddest part of this story is that the unbelief came from those who had basically grown up with Jesus. They had learned that He was just “the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses…” So when the time came for Jesus to reveal who He was and what He was really capable of, they had already developed a belief system about who He was and what He could do that prevented them from receiving it.

They had faith, if you will, that Jesus was just a carpenter – just a normal person – and that “unbelief” resulted in verse 5, “And He could do no miracle there…”

What makes this so sad to me is that I think we have a nation overflowing with people who have become accustomed and familiar with a God who doesn’t do the miraculous. Even more heartbreaking is that many of these people have come to this belief system sitting on a pew in a church that failed to deliver the fullness of God’s ability. Now, they’ve reached a point in life where fully believe that God either can’t or won’t do the truly incredible.

A Challenge For You

If you have faith, start acting on it. I am convinced that our country is desperate for men and women of God to rise up with a powerful faith acting out of love. Be that person!

If you struggle with doubt – and I think we all do from time to time and to one degree or another. Get into the Word. Learn what God’s will is. When you know what He wants to do it becomes MUCH easier to pray in faith to those ends. Spend time in prayer and sincerely ask God to enlarge your faith and help to erase your doubts.

If you’re at the point of unbelief – If you happen to be one of those people who have come to the conclusion that God can’t, or He won’t, or He just doesn’t anymore, or whatever reason it may be that you have chosen to have faith that He isn’t going to – for you my heart aches with the desire that you would be courageous enough to give God another chance. Not an ultimatum – He doesn’t work that way, but instead an opportunity, the space to show you something new. Tonight, as I write this, I am praying especially for you – that God will come in to your life in a powerful way and rewrite your perceptions of who He is and show Himself to be the Mighty God who is consumed with love for you.

About the Author

Jeremy BinnsWhen I'm not trying to save the world from the coming zombie invasion, I love my wife, hug my daughters, write, photograph, listen, observe, explore, and worship.View all posts by Jeremy Binns →

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

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