Unbelief is a reality of our walk… too many are afraid to admit that.
Many people that have walked into or even grew up in the church know the amount of advice that follows becoming Christian these basic guidelines: Read the Bible(maybe even a suggestion of the gospels first), get an accountability partner, memorize verses, serve in some capacity, repent, pray the Sinner’s prayer, get baptized and most importantly to go and tell others about Christ. The advice seems overused and ends up with people just feeling like they are in unbelief.
The person can try as hard as they like following all of this advice but still can’t seem to find that same passion about the apostles they read about in the bible… and this frustrates them. The person might get caught in fulfillment by the moralistic living and feel confused by feeling saved by works more than grace…. and this frustrates them… Many might even go to walk and talk with a pastor constantly trying to figure it all out…. and this frustrates them. They look at scripture like the following…
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!” -Mark 9:23-24
… and they pray and want to believe more taking inspiration from it. These people desperately want the reality that Christianity seems to offer but can not grasp it. The amount of unbelief in their life gets them to only look like try hards. Some of these try hards even realize that maybe they just are not enough. This might end up in a period of wandering before returning to Christ. Defeat might come where they entirely give up. The being a “good” Christian seems hard and ends in self-loathing. Nothing seems to help in their unbelief.
Simply enough, I can tell you I am one of those Christian try hards. After first arriving on the church scene I took MercyMe lyrics as a life anthem and “pushed every hindrance aside, out of my way, cause I want to know [God] more.” All the advice from every leader, church goer, peer I came across was immediately put into effect. The initial advice is great and helpful. The level of unbelief does not help when we become so well fitted into the local church body that 1 Corinthians talks about. We start to fit in and feel like we only joined another social group. This didn’t confirm my unbelief in Christ as I wrestled daily with scriptures and lifestyle.
I’ve felt that for the longest of times that my faith has held on by this sliver of hope in Jesus Christ which was enough for many circumstances. I felt like going to seminary will fix my unbelief. I even remember one peer that adamantly stated that any level of doubt is blasphemy … and that is why we are uncomfortable talking about our unbelief. The unbelief that has us asking God at the end of day thought about things such as:
- Why are so many of the believers around me okay with just mediocre lives? Where are the stories like Stephen? the Apostles like Paul or Peter?
- How do I date as a Christian? What does it really mean to Pursue her? What does it mean to stay pure? (Male advice is almost non-existent, even Wild at Heart gives advice that seems alright?)
- Why do so many Christians around me get married and settle for a “Christianized” American Dream?
- Where is the passion we read in the bible in the Church body around us today? or are we some kind of shell of what the Church should be?
- What are there so many things we fail to do so as Christians?
- Why do so many churches love to get built up in knowledge of the word and hardly practice it? Is this what we really feel is Church is suppose to be now?
- Is it alright to be skeptical of all churches you visit?
- Why do we just bash other churches in the area when we are called to love the Church of Christ? Even if we have denominational minute difference?
- Is there really persecution of the Church in America?
- What does it really look like to be a disciple of Christ?
- and many more…
Whenever we asked for advice from peers and leaders and still get the same suggestions to pray more… we get frustrated. This isn’t a blog to diminish the power of prayer, or the relationship to God with Prayer. The honest truth is I feel like a believer in spite of these frustrations. We know what will fix us, we have been buried in our bibles, we have read the scriptures and we believe in them and pray to God through the power of the Holy Spirit, and in the name of Jesus. Amen! We are similar to this father in the Gospel of Mark with a shocking amount of belief and unbelief and boldly exclaims it to Jesus himself.
Sadly, This blog is not meant to give a definite answer on these things that frustrate us or give us a great answer for our unbelief. As much as I’d like to answer these I am still maturing myself. This is the discussion where too many people tend to thread lightly because of what their peers will think of their faith or be marked as an unbeliever for their doubts. My initial fear of ever starting this blog was that I would be accused of not loving the Church, being too skeptical of new/old believers(who still wrestle with sin), or even re-evaluated as a leader of youth and peers at my local church. I feel there is a chance for fellowship and worship to God through this blog. This blog aims to opens this discussion by really asking and seeking for these answers.