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« Commiseration | Main | The Great Significance Swap »

Unbelief: The Lurker

The term “lurker” has now entered the spotlight via social media.  It refers to someone who logs onto a website or a social media platform like Facebook or Twitter but does not interact or post.  Lurkers like anonymity.  They typically don’t want anyone to know they’re online.  They don’t announce their presence.  If they do make a comment, it will most likely be under an assumed name.  They know who you are, but keep their own identity secret. 

In a recent sermon, the preacher focused on the phenomenon of unbelief.  The more he described unbelief, the more I saw it as a lurker, hiding in the shadows of the mind, slipping into camouflage, posing as something far more noble and respectable than its ugly self.  In its many disguises, unbelief can swagger around with fake credibility.  It can situate itself in the middle of bona fide spiritual traits like faithfulness, orthodox doctrine and spiritual giftedness.  It can enjoy accolades and even admiration from those who innocently succumb to its deception. 

One of unbelief’s go-to disguises looks like intellectual inquiry.  “I’m just trying to understand …”  I want to check out some other commentaries, lexicons and theological authors …” “I’m wondering if we have interpreted this accurately …”  While scholarly pursuits may be fine after one believes, a person never believes as a result of carnal, egotistical endeavors.  Faith comes first!  “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV).  If study created belief, seminaries would be hotbeds of revival.  They’re not. They’re cold dungeons of cynicism. “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” 1 Corinthians 1:21 (NKJV) 

Another favorite—albeit unsuspected—cranny for unbelief to hide is caution.  “I’m very careful of what I believe.”  “I like to wait and see what happens.”  “I always talk to my friends and find out what they think before I make a decision.”  Those statements really emerge out of unbelief.  All you need to believe is the Word of God.  Jesus charged the Pharisees with unbelief when they refused to take Him at His word.   “But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.  Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.” John 8:45-47 (NKJV) 

Yet another excuse for unbelief is bandwagon enthusiasm.  “I’ve been fooled before, so I don’t jump at everything that comes along promising pie-in-the-sky rewards.” “Whenever everybody jumps at something, I get skeptical.”  “I never go along with the crowd.”  This premise is false on its face.  If someone yells “Fire!” in an arena, this same person would most likely head for the exit along with everyone else.  In the case of reticence to embrace God’s Word, unbelief drives the action, not healthy skepticism.  

Expose your unbelief.  Don’t let it hide behind its many masks.  Call it out.  Don’t encourage, enable or prolong its existence in your life.  It is not innocent.  It is an evil motivation that must be identified, not protected.  “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” Hebrews 3:12 (KJV).  As long as you call it something other than what it really is, you will fail to rid yourself of its influence.  

Let Abraham, mighty in faith, serve as your example.  Despite all the evidence to the contrary, he steadfastly  clung to his faith.  “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.” Romans 4:16 (KJV) 

“Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” Romans 4:18-21 (KJV)

Like Abraham’s era, these times call for strong faith.  Devote yourself to the Word of God.  Let it be enough.  Expel the lurker!

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